Milford police should be equipped by the end of the year

The Milford Police Department is equipping its officers with body cameras.

During the Aug. 22 Milford City Council meeting, Chief Kenneth Brown presented his plan to the council.

“We want to be transparent,” he said. “And I think society these days is kind of requiring it with all the stuff that’s going on.”

Brown, who recently took over as chief, was referring to the numerous police related incidents across the nation in recent years.

“With the controversial police shootings and use of force incidents that have been on TV and oftentimes captured by a witness or someone involved in the incident, it just makes sense that we should have our versions available as well,” he said.

Although he doesn’t need the council’s approval, he wanted to be sure everyone was on board. James Burk, chairman of the police committee, and the entire council agreed with his plan.

“It’ll benefit everyone because there is no he said-she said,” Burk said. “It’s recorded. Besides, I don’t think we have problems in Milford like you see in other parts of the country. I think the police are for it and the community is for it. It’s just where we are right now.”

The cameras come from Taser International, one of the main suppliers of police body camera’s according to marketplace.org.

Brown said the proposal includes 25 cameras and 10 car cameras at a total cost of $145,603. Body cameras alone will cost $117,331. Brown recently learned Taser is behind schedule for the car cameras.

The plan is to spread out the cost over five years. The first year, spending will be $35,027 with $20,550 each of the remaining four years. He’s trying to obtain initial funds by applying for a $30,000 grant through the state.

Brown said he was especially interested in the way Taser stores the information on its cloud server, evidence.com.

“The Attorney General’s office is able to log into that and pull up whatever videos they need,” Brown said. “They can have people right there pull these videos up and do whatever they need to do to them to make them presentable in court.”

Once the cameras arrive, every officer on duty will be equipped with one, Brown said.

Brown said in many situations, such as when an officer turns on emergency lights, the body camera will start recording automatically. This ensures the camera is running in instances where the officer is interacting with a suspect or traffic violator.

“By policy there are certain criteria when he must turn it on, if they don’t do it and there is a reason for it there will be disciplinary action,” he said. “There are times that we’re in people’s homes where they expect there to be privacy. There are times when officers are talking with informants where we certainly don’t want that recorded.”

Burk said these days people have cell phone cameras, so it’s not like even if you weren’t wearing a camera you won’t be on a camera anyway.

“Our officers operate with the greatest integrity, and they’re community minded so I don’t think it’s going to change the way they operate,” he said.

For anyone with questions about body cameras or Milford’s plan Brown encourages them to call the police department at 302-422-8081.