New Haven police now wearing body cameras

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NEW HAVEN -- Safety, accountability and transparency among the primary reasons the New Haven Police Department is now equipping each of its over 400 officers with body cameras.

Wednesday, approximately 30 New Haven police officers became the first to be trained on the use of their new body camera.

"Today is the day where both the community and all of the members of the New Haven Police Department can claim victory," said New Haven Police Chief Anthony Campbell.

Thanks to a nearly $800,000 state grant, The purchase of the cameras and the first year of cloud storage is paid for. In subsequent years, it will cost roughly $350,000 annually to maintain the body camera program. And that will come out of the city budget. Some of these officers took part in the pilot program.

"It was weird at first," said Officer Reggie McGlotten. "You know, you had to remember to actually turn it on once you get to something because you're not used to wearing a camera."

The police officers will not have to record at all times, including certain conversations with the public.

"There may be instances where someone from the public would like to provide the officers with some information and they would not like to be recorded," said Campbell. "They can let the officer know that. The officer could deactivate the camera."

And there will be other situations, that are part of the General Orders, during which the camera would not be rolling.

"Especially dealing with juveniles and sexual assault victims," said Campbell

Among the capabilities of the body camera: officers will be able to review their video on their cellphones.

"They're going to be able to do this in the field and be able to review their video so they can accurately put that information in the reports," said Assistant Chief Racheal Cain.

So as to have time to work out the kinks with this group, it will be two to three weeks before the next group is trained.

Some New Haven police officers are especially pleased with these new department issued body cams because, for years, many of them have purchased their own cameras as a way to protect themselves against false claims.