The University of Connecticut Police Department recently began to test out the use of body cameras.
Seven out of the eighty-two UConn police officers have begun to wear the cameras, UConn Police Deputy Chief Hans Rhynhart said. Six officers at Storrs and one at the UConn School of Law were selected to wear the cameras, according to a UConn press release.
This is part of a pilot program, and the department hopes to have all officers wearing body cameras this summer, according to the release.
The reason only seven officers are currently wearing cameras is the police department wants to make sure that there are no problems with the cameras, and if there are, to fix them before all officers wear a body camera, according to a WTNH report.
“It is a tool, tools break and tools don’t always work the way they’re supposed to work,” Rhynhart said in an interview with WTNH. “So, we have contingency plans in place to provide additional cameras if need be.”
UConn Police are beginning to wear the cameras to comply with state Public Act 15-4, according to the release. The act makes it mandatory for personnel in several agencies, including UConn Police, to wear and use body cameras by Jul. 1, 2016, according to the release.
Many police departments across the country have started wearing body cameras, but not many in the northeast wear cameras, Rhynhart said.
The usage of body cameras helps improve officer training, transparency and gathering and documenting evidence, according to the release
“UConn Police are committed to serving our community with professionalism and transparency,” UConn Police Chief Barbara O’Connor said in the release. “Body cameras will augment our current program of in-car cameras and we look forward to implementing this technology.”