New Haven police to start 90-day body cam pilot program

New Haven Police Department headquarters (File)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Twenty-seven of New Haven’s 500-plus officers will now be wearing body cameras. It’s part of a 90-day pilot program.

The department will be testing out three types and brands, including a pair of sunglasses.

“Nine of them will be testing the different cameras, so it’s gonna be nine, nine, and nine, and they’ll be testing each camera for a month and then switching,” said Sergeant Rose Dell. “It will be spread across different shifts. We have officers of different statures, because sometimes if you have a shorter officer with a camera mounted, sometimes they won’t get a view of somebody’s face.”

“This camera is actually the equivalent of having another witness on the scene,” said Dell.

She says the officer does not have to tell the person they’re being recorded. Officers are allowed some discretion. For example, in situations where there are victims of sensitive crimes or where there’s an obvious expectation of privacy.

“They’re not gonna to take them into a locker room or bathroom. They’re not gonna be wearing them in a hospital at this point,” said Dell.

News 8 hit the streets of New Haven and got a positive reaction from many.

“I think that since there’s been so much controversy recently, it would be a good trial just because there’s two sides to every story,” said Yale student Maggie Morse.

“The best way to get both sides is to see it. It’s at least additional information,” said Marina Cordeau.

After the 90-day pilot program, there will be feedback from the officers, and also a discussion with defense attorneys, prosecutors, and even citizens.

“We believe the body camera will be an excellent new tool for our officers. The leadership of the department can view and come up with a better understanding and they will assist with best practices. They will serve as an excellent teaching tool and a strong model of policing,” said President of Greater New Haven NAACP Dori Duma.

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