Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $150,645)
The proposed NBPD BWC project is set to launch a broad scale implementation of 165 body-worn cameras with data storage for each New Britain sworn law enforcement officer. The purpose of the project is to multifaceted: to improve police accountability to the community, increase transparency for the public and body camera video helps protect police officers and citizens against false accusations, claims of misconduct, or abuse. Many activated body-worn cameras prevent and de-escalate confrontational situations between officers and civilians. The primary activities of the New Britain Police body-worn cameras are to capture, from the officer's point of view, video and audio recordings of activities, including traffic stops, arrests, searches, interrogations, and critical incidents such as officer-involved shootings. Expected outcomes are to improve police-community relations, reduction of the number of citizen complaints, reduction of police use of force complaints and to utilize the body cameras for evidence in a court of law. The body-worn cameras will produce digital video evidence of an incident an officer encounters during their tour of duty or when conducting a police investigation. The deliverables of the program are the procurement of the AXON Enterprises body-worn cameras, policy development and implementation, assessments of the cameras after a two-year review and improvement in officer training on the use and function of body-worn cameras. The body-worn camera video is incorporated into use of force police for reporting and as a mechanism for officers to learn from during in-service training. Sworn law enforcement officers will benefit from police body-worn cameras as previous research finds that ‘BWC-wearing officers generated significantly fewer complaints and use of force reports relative to control officers without cameras’ (Braga, A., Coldren, J. Jr., Sousa, W., Rodriguez D., Olpher, A. “The Benefits of Body-Worn Cameras, New Findings From Randomized Control Trails at the Las Vegas Metro PD”, December 2017). Community stakeholders, civilians, prosecutors, district attorneys, defense attorneys, and victims of crime benefit from the transparency body-worn cameras provide form the view of the officer.