Despite state funds, local police departments rejecting body cameras

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HARTFORD--State money is available for police departments across Connecticut to purchase body cameras, but only a handful of departments are taking advantage of the opportunity.

Wolcott Police Chief Edward Stephens said that now, more than ever, body cameras are necessary to protect police and the public. His department has been using them since 2012.

David McGuire, interim executive director of the ACLU, said $15 million in state funding has been available for two years, but to date only five or six police agencies have filled out applications.

The money only covers the first year of video storage, and Chief Stephens and many others say storage can be extremely expensive.

Stephens said, “I keep everything here. I don't have to pay for the cloud storage.”

He said his department hasn't spent one dollar maintaining video other than the initial fee. “We do not have cloud storage and that's the big financial part, cloud storage, where it's going off the site and someone else is managing the storage.”

Regardless of cost, McGuire said bodycams should be a priority. "This is a golden opportunity for police departments to gain the public's trust," said McGuire.