Hartford City Council to Vote on Police Body Cameras Grant

Hartford's City Council is scheduled to vote Tuesday night on a grant that would fund outfitting the capital city's police force with body cameras.

The topic is particularly significant in light of rioting in Baltimore, Maryland and Ferguson, Missouri in response to police use of force.

The question in Hartford is how to pay for the large expense, which could cost anywhere from $300 to $1,000 dollars per camera.

Supporters say the price tag is worth it and will increase accountability of law enforcement, but opponents say it will also add a layer of fear to doing one's job.

But ultimately, it might not be up to cities and towns to decide. State lawmakers are currently discussing a bill that would supply body cameras to three communities as part of a pilot study, but it's unknown which communities could be chosen should that come to pass.

Eight communities in Connecticut also have police body cameras, including East Haven and Hamden.

South Windsor police will be accepting a donation of body cameras from the Hartford-Evergreen Lodge of Freemasons at the Masonic Lodge at 1559 Main Street in South Windsor at 1 p.m. on Tuesday. The lodge is supplying 12 initial body cameras and a docking station to recharge and collect the data from the cameras for cloud storage, police said. The police department will budget for ongoing maintenance and data storage costs after that, according to police.

Hartford could be one step closer to being on that list after Tuesday night's meeting, which starts at 7 p.m. at City Hall.

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