Capitol Police Exempt from Body Camera Law

Earlier this year, the Connecticut General Assembly passed a landmark law enforcement measure that Gov. Dannel P. Malloy eventually signed that created the first statewide guidelines for the use of police cameras and excessive force.

However, one police agency, the State Capitol Police, was left out of the law entirely.

On the issue of body cameras, there were strict instances laid out as to when a camera could be turned off, like when an officer is speaking with an informant, or a victim of sexual assault.

Under the new law, all state and university police will be mandated to wear the cameras starting in July of 2016. Any police department that paid for body cameras from January 2012 to January of 2016 could be reimbursed from a new fund from the state.

All local police that receive state grants must wear body cameras by the same July 2016 timeline.
Eric Brown is the legal director for the Nutmeg Independent Public Safety Employee Union. The group represents about 400 employees including many police in places like Bristol, Naugatuck and Watertown.

Brown said of the omission of Capitol Police, “Just as they’re used to protect our officers they can be used to protect Capitol Police as well.”

Brown raised concerns about storage of the camera data as well as how the footage may be used during negotiations of the bill.

“In fact, the concerns have been raised with the use of some videos on good arrests where the police officers did everything right except there was a minor policy violation.”

He contends that it wasn't an accident that Capitol Police were left out of the final version.

"I think the legislature always acts with intent" he said.

Rep. Steve Dargan on the Public Safety Committee (D - West Haven) said "we're going to have to work out all of the kinks of the law and this is one of them."

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