New Laws for the New Year Include Body Cams and Overtime - NBC Connecticut

New Laws for the New Year Include Body Cams and Overtime

Police body cameras, state-paid overtime among state-wide changes in 2016

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    New Laws for the New Year Include Body Cams and Overtime

    Two new laws set to take effect this year relate to investigations the Troubleshooters reported on in the year prior.

    Starting January 1, the state will aim to ease police and citizen relations by subsidizing police body cameras.

    Every local police department will have the option of purchasing and getting reimbursed for certain state-approved body cameras. For Connecticut State Police, the new technology will be mandatory.

    The change comes amid riots, peaceful protests and a social movement that forced several cities nationwide to answer the seemingly impossible question of what can be done to strengthen the bond between law enforcement and the communities it serves.

    In February 2015, the Troubleshooters shared both sides of the body camera debate.

    “The pros of having the cameras have been proven, essentially,” said Deputy Chief Brian Foley of Hartford Police. “It’s a drop in citizen complaints, and you would save some costs there.”

    Those saved costs may resurface in other areas. Negotiations with the union have stalled, according to Foley, because of issues surrounding how the body camera footage would be distributed, who would be responsible for managing it and the cost of organizing the video.

    “We believe that it’s a change in our working conditions,” said Andrew Matthews from the Connecticut State Police Union. “We feel that it’s only right for the employer to come to the table and negotiate the terms and conditions of employment, which would be being on camera 24/7.”

    Another Troubleshooters investigation revealed some state employees doubled or, in one instance, almost tripled their base salary in overtime pay.

    In 2016, that information will become more transparent. The Office of Fiscal Analysis will be required to issue quarterly reports on the overtime granted by each state agency to its employees.

    The report will list how much overtime is granted by each state agency and how many employees received overtime pay.