MIDDLETOWN (AP) - The new commander of Connecticut State Police expects all troopers to be using body cameras by the end of the year, two years after they were supposed to begin using them under state law.
Col. George Battle talked about body cameras, his priorities and other issues in an interview with The Associated Press this week. Battle, a 30-year state police veteran, began his new job March 1, succeeding Col. Alaric Fox, who left to become police chief in Enfield.
A state law approved in 2015 that addressed police use of force required troopers to begin using the cameras by July 1, 2016, if they’re supplied with the equipment. State officials approved $2 million in bonding for body cameras for state police.
Battle and other officials acknowledged the process to implement cameras, including choosing which camera to use and how to store the video from nearly 1,000 troopers, has taken a long time and has included field trials with multiple camera models.
Battle said officials are now finalizing a decision on a camera model. After a contract is signed with the manufacturer, he expects body cameras to be phased in over six to eight months.
“That’s certainly a big change that we’re looking forward to,” he said. “It offers a lot of transparency into what our folks are doing every day.”
Some law enforcement officers and police departments around the state have been identified as stopping minority motorists at disproportionate rates compared with white drivers, according to Central Connecticut State University researchers who analyzed statewide traffic stop data.
Battle, who serves on the advisory board that oversees the traffic stop data collection, said state police officials have been working with university analysts to address any problems, but did not offer specifics.
“It’s an ongoing process that we continue to work with them on,” he said. “I think we’re all interested in the same end result of just ensuring that our policing efforts are fair and impartial.”