Less than a month after two Bridgeport police officers pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor in of violation of civil rights in Federal Court, the police department is reinforcing its “use of force policies.”
In 2013, a YouTube video surfaced showing two officers kicking a suspect on the ground in Bridgeport’s Beardsley Park. Another officer is seen joining them. The incident itself took place in 2011.
“When a police officer violates the public trust, he or she has to be held accountable, and that’s what happened in the case,” Bridgeport police spokesman Bill Kaempffer said.
According to Kaempffer, Bridgeport had strong use of force policies prior to the scandal. In 2012, the Department invested in software to manage citizen complaints against officers.
“In 2013, we sent a police officer, a lieutenant and two city attorneys up to a use of force conference,” Kaempffer said.
Now, the department is phasing in new tasers which can only shoot at 5 second increments. The move comes not as a reaction to the incident at Beardsley, Kaempffer argued, but as an upgrade to best police practice.
“We have 400 police officers about right now and the vast, vast, majority go out and do such good work every single day,” Kaempffer said.
The idea of cameras worn on police uniforms has also been discussed.