Berlin police turning off the body cameras due to expense - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Berlin police turning off the body cameras due to expense

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Berlin police getting rid of body cameras (WFSB) Berlin police getting rid of body cameras (WFSB)

The Berlin Police Department is losing a set of eyes on the road, all because of money.

The department purchased six body cameras and began testing them in 2014.

“We wanted to see how well they worked. We wanted to see the storage requirements and the management requirements,” said Berlin Police Chief Paul Fitzgerald.

The department was one of more than a dozen throughout the state to test the cameras, and recently, the State Post Council outlined how police should use the body cameras.

“We only have to retain video records for 30 days, but the policy tripled that to 90 days,” Fitzgerald said.

This is a lot of video and money to store the data, and is one of the reasons the department has now elected to turn off the cameras.

“Additionally the policy said we should use them when we're assisting motorists, when we're taking statements from victims, witnesses or suspects,” Fitzgerald said.

In order to comply with those requirements, the department would need additional money to purchase a bigger computer system to store the video, and someone to manage it.

“Initially, you can get a grant for the hardware, but two years, three years down the road it would fall onto the police department's budget,” Fitzgerald said.

The chief said he’s not opposed to using the cameras in the future, but his biggest concern now is how the department can afford the storage.

“If we decide not to use them we may see if we can sell them to another police department that is choosing to use them,” Fitzgerald said.

While the department will stop using body cams, the chief said during traffic stops his officers will continue utilizing dashboard cameras.

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