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Hartford City Council votes to postpone body camera resolution ahead of critical deadline

HARTFORD --  The Hartford Police Department has been working for years to try and get its officers police body-worn cameras, but an important deadline that would help the city pay for those cameras is quickly approaching.

On Monday the Hartford city council decided to delay a vote on Mayor Luke Bronin's resolution to purchase a body camera system.

Councilman TJ Clarke told FOX 61 the vote was postponed council members could review the details of the mayor’s resolution.

Instead, a special council meeting has been scheduled for Thursday night.

A Public Act put forth by the State of Connecticut OPM, allows local police departments to purchase body cameras and then be reimbursed.

Hartford Police said this would save the department around $750,000.

Police departments only have until June 30 to take advantage of that deal.

Before the police department can accept the money from the state and purchase the cameras, the move must first be approved by Hartford City Council, but that time is running out.

Police department leaders, the mayor and the community are supporting body cameras.

“Nationwide trends, positive trend all over the country," said Lt. Paul Cicero of Hartford Police Department. "The community is very supportive of it and they have made that known to us on many occasions. So we are waiting for Thursday for a decision from city council.”

The technology and integration is what makes this equipment so important according to the department.

For example, if an officer takes out his or her taser, the body camera would be automatically activated and also include the previous 30 seconds of video. Additionally, any other officer within a 30 foot radius would also have their body cameras automatically activated as well as their police dash cruiser cams.

This wouldn't be the department's first body camera purchase. In 2012 HPD bought around 40 cameras, but the program never made it into practice due to fiscal constraints and union push-back.

FOX 61 will continue to follow this story.

FOX 61 Chief Investigator Brian Foley is a retired Deputy Chief of the Hartford Police Department