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FIRST ON FOX61: Camera placement in Wethersfield PD’s female locker room under investigation

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WETHERSFIELD -- There have been concerns over cameras placed in the women’s locker room at a local police department.

It all stemmed from a complaint that underwear was rummaged through.

FOX 61 legally obtained a 22-page confidential report through a Freedom of Information Act Request.

It gives a detailed timeline of the events from when the officer’s belongings were tampered with to how multiple parties within the police department handled the situation. The report stated what the department did but also what they did wrong that could have lessened the severity of the situation.

According to the report, in August, a female Wethersfield officer noticed her gym bag was rummaged through twice. After the second time, the report said the officer reported it to officials within the department. The female officer suspected it was a janitor because he made her feel uncomfortable.

The report said two commanders made the decision to place a covert camera in the women’s locker room with strict requirements that the rest of the female officers would be notified about this.

Then, another female officer met with an official who was told she would be informed of when the camera would be in the locker room and that it should her responsibility to let the other female officers know.

The camera was first placed in the locker room on August 28th, but it did not capture anything of note, according to the report.

The report detailed how the cameras were re-installed several times by different people within the department.

By the end of September, the female officer victim expressed her frustration with how slow the investigation was going.

A few days later, the janitor was questioned. The investigator said the janitor admitted to stealing a pair of sunglasses and toilet paper, but never admitted he was the one who went through the officer’s gym bag.

The report said female officers complained they were never told when the cameras would be in the locker room and were afraid they were recorded.

One officer recalled showering when the camera was recording. That same officer was also concerned about a personal conversation that may have been recorded.

The officer was given a copy of the video for review, but it was missing the day in question. To this date, based solely off the report, FOX 61 have not been told if she was recorded at all or where that video may be.

The report concluded the incident was taken seriously based on the immediate response. However, the report also stated the incident was handled wrongfully and there could have been a quicker way to address the issue rather than deciding to use a camera.

Another flaw the report said is the police department treated the incident as criminal theft instead of considering the sexual nature of it.

Overall, the report concluded by saying the chief played a role in these flaws because of the lack of communication and respect.

As a recommendation, the report said there should be a policy over the management and use of a covert camera in the future. While the findings of the incident have concluded, there has yet to be an arrest made.

FOX 61 reached out to the Wethersfield Police Chief for a comment, but was referred to the findings of the report.

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