AP NEWS

Bridgeport PD to be reimbursed for cost of body camera program

March 28, 2019

BRIDGEPORT — The city’s police department is expected to be reimbursed for the more than $1 million spent on the body and dashboard camera program that went live last summer.

The department is set to be reimbursed for $1,150,449 for the purchase of the cameras and video storage devices. The reimbursement goes through the State Bond Commission, which is next scheduled to meet on April 2 in Hartford.

“The timing for this funding could not be better in light of the miscommunications between our police and our community,” said state Sen. Marilyn Moore, D-Bridgeport. “These cameras will help support the police in the way of transparency and give the community solid proof of what transpires during incidents. Increased transparency is good for the people of Bridgeport and our public safety officers.”

Various other state senators and state representatives for praised the state for moving forward with the reimbursement.

“In the relatively short amount of time they have been in use, body cameras have been a key investigative tool in a number of important cases,” said state Rep. Chris Rosario, D-Bridgeport. “I thank the governor for supporting this funding for Bridgeport and consider it a good investment that will have a positive impact on overall public safety.”

The cost of the program was handled through a reimbursement federal grant, officials said after the department announced it. The cost included cameras ans five years of unlimited, guaranteed storage.

Training was completed for all 255 patrol, traffic, K9 and Tactical Nartocitcs Team officers. Dashboard cameras were installed in 97 police vehicles.

Back in January 2018, Police Chief Armando Perez said the department was looking into a pilot program for officers to test out different products from different vendors. By February 2018, the pilot program began.

Between the end of the program ran from Feb. 1 to April 30, 2018. There was a lot of behind the scenes work, including figuring out who would be in charge of monitoring the stored footage — and handling media requests for footage from incidents — and installing technology to move forward with the program.

In 2015 then Police Chief Joseph Gaudette said he wanted to push for officers to wear body cameras.

In the years following that, activists and community members called for body cameras to improve transparency and to ensure police are held accountable for their actions. The fatal police-involved shooting of 15-year-old Jayson Negron on May 9, 2017, was a driving factor behind that push.