Stafstrom Hails Bonding For Police Cameras

March 28, 2019

Representative Steven Stafstrom joined his colleagues representing Bridgeport Thursday to announce that the State Bond Commission is expected to approve funding for the purchase of body cameras and digital data storage devices for the Bridgeport Police Department next week.

“I am pleased to see that Bridgeport is moving forward with the purchase of body cameras. I led passage of the 2017 legislation authorizing state reimbursement for this purchase in response to constituents seeking increase transparency and police accountability,” said Stafstrom, House chair of the Judiciary Committee. “This funding will help protect both residents and police officers in our communities.”

The police department will be reimbursed $1,150,449 for the purchase of body cameras and video storage devices. Last August, the department launched a body and dashboard camera program in an effort to strengthen trust between police and the public. Training was put in place for all 255 patrol, traffic, K-9 and Tactical Narcotics Team officers. Also, 97 dashboard cameras were installed in police vehicles.

Stafstrom agreed with members of the Bridgeport delegation -- Sens. Marilyn Moore and& Dennis Bradley, and Reps. Jack Hennessy, Chris Rosario, Charlie Stallworth and Andre Baker -- that body cameras are essential.

“The timing for this funding could not be better in light of the miscommunications between our police and our community,” Moore said. “These cameras will help support the police in the way of transparency and give the community solid proof of what transpires during incidents. Increased transparency is good for the people of Bridgeport and our public safety officers.”

“I commend Governor Ned Lamont for this investment in a tool, body cameras for law enforcement, which will protect civilians and police,” said Bradley. “Body cameras provide the public with transparency, and can work to improve the relationship and trust some members of the community have with law enforcement. Body cameras also protect law enforcement against false claims. This is a necessary tool our community will benefit from.”

“In the relatively short amount of time they have been in use, body cameras have been a key investigative tool in a number of important cases,” said Rosario. “I thank the governor for supporting this funding for Bridgeport and consider it a good investment that will have a positive impact on overall public safety.”

“Body cameras are an effective means of offering not only security to our community, but true accountability to the officers,” said Stallworth. “The approval of these funds for Bridgeport would be essential to building a feeling of safety throughout the city. I thank the Bond Commission for reviewing this important item and I hope that it will move forward.”

“With funding to support body cameras for Bridgeport police officers, we can offer a feeling of safety for all residents,” Baker said. “I urge the Bond Commission to vote in favor of this essential protection. The importance of obtaining approval for these funds cannot be understated.”

“I am glad to see the Bridgeport Police Department invest in promoting transparency and forging relationships with the community. Body cameras are a useful tool that hold law enforcement accountable, but also become essential pieces of evidence,” said Hennessy. “Recorded footage can also be useful in training to develop more effective officers. I am glad to see the State Bond Commission grant funding for this technology.”

The State Bond Commission is scheduled to meet on April 2, 2019 at 10:30 am in Room 1E of the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.