Norwich City Council to consider purchasing body and cruiser cameras for police

March 17, 2019

Norwich — If the city wants to take advantage of a state grant to reimburse half the estimated 3.2 million voter-approved 2017 public safety bond — mainly crafted to purchase five fire trucks — to purchase body cameras and cruiser cameras for city police. The bond approval included the wording “and additional public safety equipment including communications equipment” if such purchases were approved by the City Council.

Police estimated purchasing body cameras for all 80 sworn officers, including Daley, 25 cruiser cameras and related storage equipment would cost 150,000 of the total. The department would use 100,000.

The state grant reimbursement will expire June 30, Daley said, meaning the equipment would have to be purchased by that date. The council is expected to vote tonight on a resolution authorizing the police body and cruiser cameras, as well as a separate plan to purchase security cameras for the downtown viaduct parking lot. The council meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. at City Hall, with public comment prior to the scheduled vote on the resolution.

Four of the seven aldermen, Mayor Peter Nystrom and Council Public Safety Committee members Joanne Philbrick, Joseph DeLucia and William Nash have co-sponsored the resolution.

“We’ve been considering body cameras for a while and they are not going to be extending the state grant for body cameras, so we have to move,” Daley said. “Body and cruiser cameras have become the industry standard, and it’s something we’ve been lacking for years.”

Daley said as with many other local police departments, cost was the main factor delaying the purchase of the cameras. If approved by the council, the city department would follow state police policies and procedures for use of the cameras and video footage.

The resolution also calls for using $30,000 of the public safety bond to purchase security cameras to be mounted in the downtown viaduct public parking lot. Police already have cameras along downtown streets, the Howard T. Brown Memorial Park at Norwich Harbor and in Greeneville. Daley said expanding the system to the viaduct lot would improve public safety.

“We’ve been looking to get cameras down there for a few years,” Daley said.