Police Department To Receive More Than $1 Million From State For Body Cameras–Chief Perez: Win-Win For Police And Public

Governor Ned Lamont announced on Tuesday that the Bridgeport Police Department will receive a $1,150,449 reimbursement for body cameras, most of which have been put into practice, according to Chief AJ Perez who praised the late State Rep. Ezequiel Santiago “for being a lion” in helping to lobby the state dollars.

The city purchased roughly 400 cameras that Perez says is a “win-win for police officers and the public.”

News release from Lamont:

Governor Ned Lamont, who serves as chairman of the state Bond Commission, today released the agenda for the first meeting of the group that will be held since he was sworn into office as governor earlier this year. As part of the “debt diet” initiative he announced last month to reduce long-term debt service payments and save state taxpayer dollars, the items to be considered at the April 2 meeting represent a reduction in bonding by more than 65 percent as compared to bonding during the same time-period in prior years.

The agenda focuses on continuing commitments for municipal aid, critical transportation infrastructure projects, leveraging federal funds for tribute to our veterans, and prior committed economic development projects. It includes the following:

1. Body Camera Reimbursement Grant: Provides $2.6 million reimbursement grants to Fairfield, Newtown, Norwalk, Old Saybrook, Putnam, Bridgeport and Hartford in accordance with a program created by the Legislature in 2015 that protects law enforcement, as well as members of the public.

2. Department of Transportation Projects: Includes funding for programs prioritized by the Department of Transportation that maintain municipal aid and support a state of good repair for our transportation system.
a. Intrastate Highway Program: Provides $31.9 million to supplement federal highway funds to keep local transportation in a state of good repair.
b. State Bridge Program: Provides $9.9 million to supplement federal bridge funds to keep local transportation in a state of good repair.
c. Local Bridge Program Grants: Provides $21.8 million in local municipal funds and keeps local transportation infrastructure in a state of good repair.
d. 2019 vendor-in-place resurfacing program: Provides $69 million to improve over 220 miles of state roadways and keeps local transportation infrastructure in a state of good repair.
e. Fix-It-First Roads Program: Provides $6.9 million for pavement preservation projects to keep local transportation infrastructure in a state of good repair.
f. Interim repairs to the Cos Cob movable railroad bridge: Provides $20 million to address critical steel repairs, safety improvements and mechanical and electrical upgrades at the movable bridge, extending the life of the bridge until a full replacement project can occur (dependent on new revenue sources for the Special Transportation Fund.)
g. Town Aid Road grants: Provides $30 million for the second fiscal year installment for the program, keeping the Governor’s promise for continuing municipal aid.

3. Crumbling Foundations Assistance Fund: Provides $20 million for the FY 2019 allocation for grants to assist homeowners with replacement of pyrrhotite-affected home foundations.

4. Department of Correction Share of Enfield Waste Water Treatment Plan Upgrades: Provides $2.5 million under a 1990 agreement between the state and the town, in which the state is responsible for a share of capital project costs (based on the calculated percentage of use by the correctional complex) to Enfield Waste Water Treatment. The agreement was executed to as part of negotiations for prison expansion projects.

5. Department of Correction New Haven Parking Garage Repairs: Provides $1.4 million for structural repairs to ensure safety and a state of good repair.

6. Department of Veterans Affairs Cost for Federal Grant Funded Cemetery Projects: Provides $800,000 to ensure compliance with an $8 million federal grant to honor Connecticut’s Veterans at the State Veteran’s Cemetery in Middletown.

7. CRDA Bridge Loan: The Capitol Region Development Authority (CRDA) will provide a construction bridge loan of $3.5 million to the developer of the Parkville Market for restoration of the vacant commercial building at 1400 Park Street in Hartford providing space to tenants offering a variety of ethnic food vendors and space for local artisans. Once the facility is operational and generating revenue, the developer will repay the $3.5 million back to the state.

“This agenda is significantly smaller than in years past, underscoring my commitment to putting Connecticut on a debt diet,” Governor Lamont said. “These items represent critical economic development needs, statutory obligations, honoring our commitment to municipal aid, projects that are eligible for matching federal funds, and transportation projects that need to be funded in order to maintain a state of good repair. There were a number of ‘nice to have’ projects that were brought to my attention for consideration. However, given our current economic situation, we need to be extremely cautious about using our state’s credit card, as Standard & Poor’s noted in their recent ratings report supporting my efforts to put Connecticut on a debt diet.”

The meeting will begin at 10:30 a.m. in Room 1E of the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.

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8 comments

  1. Presently, Bridgeport needs additional police “bodies” much more than “body cams.” More, strategically-placed “street cams” — monitored by the public (community-policing volunteers) — would probably serve us better than more body-cams at this point in time… Body cams are great and indicated, but (for obvious reasons) they don’t make up for needed, additional, police “bodies” and a publicly-monitored system of street video-cams…

    1. This will also pass. What the general public doesn’t understand is that the cost of the cameras is the smallest part of the whole technical aspect of having cameras. It’s the retention of all of the camera recordings that is the problem. The cost is huge and not really sustainable unless you budget to keep it going. It’s like having enough police on any department. Having a full compliment has its costs and many PD’s such as Bridgeport have never made the commitment to bring themselves to full and proper staffing. The commitment to continue funding cameras will remain to be seen……
      Off topic: Council member Defilippo finally has the zoning boards approval to open his store. The article in the Ct Post, as in all past articles, clearly gives the impression of how corrupt the process was. It also incorrectly states that he “Bartended” for Mario Testa. It should read bartends. Apparently Defilippo is a good “politician” as he has no shame in what he and his attorney have pulled off. It took them over 3 years. He is also a good “Bridgeport” politician as he was able to “use” all the usual corrupt and devious methods to attain something for himself using the “unindicted co-conspirator “ attorney from the JG 1 case to conspire with OPED and the zoning board to change the laws for himself.
      The question is how is Michael DeFilippo going to tell his boss at Brooklawn and Suburban that the customers for the pizza place can no longer park in the few spots he has for his liquor store ?
      The appeal is forthcoming, until then get there early to find a spot.
      More to come…..

  2. Over what time period have the roughly 400 cameras been purchased?? How are the expenses of the system supported and what are they? What line item in the PD identifies the expense of storage? What are the rules for storage in terms of time before destruction, and accessibility by the public?
    Sorry to keep nitpicking but what is the working lifespan of these cameras? If they are being funded by 20 year bonds, won’t they be in the scrap pile, replaced by more modern equipment, before the current cameras have been fully paid? Why do we follow this practice?
    Finally, at one time I listened to Police staff explain how these are worn by folks on patrol. Isn’t that limited to about 120 officers daily. So what happens to the other 280 cameras when someone is working the property room, undercover, complaints, etc.? Will someone share the protocol for a meeting between an officer and a member of the public? When does the camera go on? How long does it stay on? Can the officer break the routine manually? Can a camera bearer frustrate the purpose? How? Nothing has been said about audio? Is that part of the video capacity? Time will tell.

    1. JML: I believe that all your questions could be answered by Michael DeFilippo as he IS a member of the budget and appropriations committee and should be well versed in the matter. Please inquire and pray tell make us all aware of his knowledge on the subject. After all, this is a very expensive project. Thank you.

  3. Rich,
    I hope that we can talk soon in person. I feel that you give too much credit to the knowledge or understanding by a Council member, no matter their Committee assignment to the progress of items that come from grants or capital funds. Their monthly received paperwork deals with operations and it is my guess that the State Grant is not included in Operations $$. The B&A reviews the annual Capital Budget request received from the City and then moves to the entire CC for a vote. But thereafter, they are out of the loop unless and until the City comes back to them with a bond authorizing request. At that time they need to vote again, on matters they may have looked at 1-5 years ago but with perhaps more specific target and budget estimates in mind. (Then again, perhaps not.) And after they put their rubber stamp and pass a bond approval, they receive no other regular communication about receipt, expenditure, remaining funds, and remaining project. Curious, isn’t it?
    By the way if I am wrong about this process, I would be happy to be contradicted by a City official who provides a more responsible, transparent, accountable and honest way to let citizen representatives stay in touch with approved funding that will be part of City payments for at least the next 20 years. Right or wrong about process? Time will tell.

    1. JML: if you’ve read any of my posts here you would know that I don’t give any of them credit to do what’s right……. individually or collectively.
      Sure, from time to time one will act or speak up on an issue or a particular cause which may affect their “constituency” but in general everyone just tows the line and does what they’re told. I often ask where are they on all the issues of the day, especially those “newer” members who ran to “change” things. All anyone sees for the most part is the same old business as usual attitude. They all read the Ct Post AND this blog. They know what issues affect people and how underhanded certain boards and committees are such as the Zoning board and OPED, etc. They’ve spoken out against some city lawyers etc. but what has really ever changed for the better. The city just bleeds through bad management, decisions, AND people…. elected and appointed. When’s the last time when citizens such as yourself get up to speak prior to the CC meetings have they all sat and listened? All I ever see are many of them milling about and it’s obvious that they can’t wait until the public speaking part is over. Ever been to a zoning meeting? Watch their antics- Liskov included. It’s a comedy. They try to do everything to not allow people to speak/testify if it doesn’t fit their agenda. Ask Eneida and others how some of the Defilippo/Willinger hearings went!!!!! It’s outright shameful and sometimes illegal the crap that they pull……. but they know that the public doesn’t see these things so they don’t care. They just do the bidding of their superiors. And keep getting elected or appointed.
      Only in Bridgeport??? Not really, other places as well but maybe not as bad…. for so long.

    1. Derek,
      Might be interesting to follow if one had that kind of time, perhaps retired, disabled or otherwise an invalid, but when would the camera be on? (Photo ops are captured otherwise, anyway.) When do you shut of the camera? (As soon as one can if the camera excludes you from the footage.) Who would have access to the tape? (Only a graduate school class studying “Best Municipal Practices from ‘The Second Chance’ Leaders”. Thus you could serve up Marion Barry of Washington DC, “Buddy” Cianci of Providence RI, Joe Ganim of Bridgeport and probably a few others but such failure in content??) Time will tell.

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