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Connecticut Officials Contemplate Police Body Cams

On the heels of daily rallies for racial justice in town and across the state and country, Manchester, Conn., officials are expected to discuss several items related to policing, including body cameras.

by Skyler Frazer, Journal Inquirer / July 7, 2020
Shutterstock/Lutsenko_Oleksandr

(TNS) — On the heels of daily rallies for racial justice in town and across the state and country, the Board of Directors in Manchester, Conn., on Tuesday is expected to discuss several items related to policing, including body cameras.

The Board of Directors is set to meet digitally at 7 p.m. to act on a loaded agenda that includes a possible $165,000 allocation for police body cameras. The funds would come out of the town’s reserves, according to meeting documents.

In a letter to the directors, General Manager Scott Shanley said town staff last October solicited a bid from the current provider of the police department’s car cameras for the pricing of equipment and details on cloud storage and retrieval fees for body cameras.

After significant review, Shanley said, it was decided that it was most financially prudent to go with this same vendor for the cloud storage of data from the body cameras as well. If approved Tuesday, the $165,000 in funding will be combined with $100,000 from another account to allow the town to move forward with purchasing the cameras and related technology.

Shanley said there has been some discussion at the state and federal levels about providing funding for body cameras for local police agencies, but nothing has materialized yet.

“The Manchester Police Department, leadership and union, are prepared to move forward now,” he wrote in a letter dated July 1. “The Board should discuss timing to determine if it is prudent to wait to see if federal (or state) funding will be available, or, to proceed with local funding for immediate purchase.”

In addition to body cameras, the Board of Directors is scheduled to receive a briefing from the Manchester Police Department regarding “8 Can’t Wait,” a campaign that aims to reform police departments by enacting eight specific policing changes.

The eight policies are: banning chokeholds and strangleholds; requiring officers to try and deescalate situations; requiring officers to give a warning before firing a weapon; requiring police to exhaust all alternatives before shooting; requiring officers to intervene if they see excessive force being used; banning shooting at moving vehicles; establishing a use of force continuum that restricts severe uses of force to extreme situations; and requiring more comprehensive reporting any time an officer uses force or threatens to use force on a citizen.

©2020 Journal Inquirer, Manchester, Conn. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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