Body cameras closer to reality for New Haven police

NEW HAVEN--It appears the New Haven Police Department will be outfitting its more than 400 officers with body cameras soon. It just won't happen before the end of the year, which was the interim chief's goal.

"One of the issues is the protocols, as to when the officers would turn them on, who would need to wear them," said Interim Chief Anthony Campbell.

The union president, like the chief, believes body cameras make sense.

"I spoke to some officers that I know from other towns and they said it helped them out on a few things where people have said this and this and that and it turns out that wasn't true," said officer Craig Miller, head of the union.

The city is applying for a state grant, which would foot the bill for all of the cameras. Storage of the massive amount of video was one of the issues just resolved.

"We have so much, as a matter fact, that we can actually offer it to other towns," said Mayor Toni N. Harp.

Campbell says numerous studies have shown that when body cameras are employed there is a much more positive interaction between the public and police "because when people know that they are being recorded, they act differently."

He believes body cameras on cops, country wide, will result in fewer volatile protests.

"Footage allows you to take the fuel away from the fire," Campbell says.

With the Board of Alders and Police Commissioners in support, the cameras could be deployed during the first quarter of 2017.

The Taser brand body cameras, which the chief says will likely be employed in New Haven, are already being put to good use and Hamden and East Haven.