WETHERSFIELD, CT (WFSB) – A plan to install cameras in Wethersfield has created controversy.
The town is buying a dozen cameras for several intersections and the chief of police says they want to use them to catch criminals.
But one civil rights group questions the agenda.
The Silas Deane Highway is a busy road, so there’s a plan in place to put cameras at a few locations.
The cameras take pictures of cars and could help police solve crimes, but the ACLU is concerned about racial profiling.
“Obviously, we can’t afford to put a cop on every corner, so the cameras will supplement our force,” said Chief James Cetran, Wethersfield Police Department.
Twelve cameras will be installed on busy roads like the Silas Deane Highway and the Berlin Turnpike.
Neighboring Hartford has many more cameras and it’s helped police with investigations. The most notable was the case against Fotis Dulos, arrested for killing his estranged wife, Jennifer Farber Dulos. Cameras captured what they say was Fotis Dulos driving around the north end of the city with bags of bloody clothes.
We live in a world no where cameras are everywhere. The ACLU says it understand that, but questions Wetherfield’s motives.
“This is a police department that year after year has been tagged as having racial disparities in its traffic stops,” said Melvin Medina, ACLU Connecticut.
The cameras come during intense scrutiny after a Hispanic 18-year-old was shot by police on the Silas Deane in April 2019, and the town has been flagged for pulling over people of color.
Chief Cetran rejects his officers are engaged in racial profiling.
“But the problem is IMRP, Central Connecticut is using faulty numbers because they’re basing the driving population in Wethersfield on the population of Wethersfield and we all know the cars driving in Wethersfield are not just people who live here,” Chief Cetran said.
The town manager says cameras are a way to target criminals, no matter where they come from.
“It allows for us to have a presence in different parts of the community and spread out. And it also allows for transparency and accountability,” said Gary Evans, Wethersfield Town Manager.
Evans says towns that have installed camera systems have seen a reduction in crime and a reduction in the time it takes to solve crimes.
The cameras will be set up for facial recognition and are looking at cars and license plates.