The University of Connecticut Police Department has had all officers wear body cameras starting July 1st in compliance with a new state law. Earlier this year, seven officers wore body cameras as a test run for the procedure.
The cost of having all 82 officers wear body cameras is around $200,000, UCPD Chief Hans Rhynhart said. The cost includes the cameras, the storage and any extra equipment, he said.
“We are applying for a grant through the state to reimburse us, it’s a reimbursement grant,” he said. “ So we have to front the money and we put in the paper work, so we’ll hopefully get reimbursed.”
Rhynhart said he was told UCPD wouldn’t have any problems getting reimbursed.
The initial trial run earlier this year “went well” Rhynhart said.
“We didn’t run into any problems in the pilot program,” he said. “ We made several adjustments to our operational needs as far as looking into how long battery life lasts, what type of policies inside the department we needed to adjust.”
Feedback from the officers who were wearing body cameras was listened to and taken into consideration.
“Many of the items that we thought would work did work, which is always a nice thing,” Rhynhart said. “We did make some minor adjustments and we fully implemented the program on July 1.”
The feedback from the public has been positive.
“We get a lot of questions from people as to what the camera’s doing,” he said.
People are curious as to how the cameras look and work, many are surprised about the size of the cameras.
The cameras are large because of the battery that is needed, Rhynhart said. They need to be large because officers will be wearing them between 10-12 hours a day.
“I’m sure that there’ll be problems that will come up that we’re not even anticipating,” he said. “But we’ve got good staff, good technical staff, here that are supporting us. We’re confident that we’re going to be able to handle any problem that comes up.”