Wilton police plan to purchase body cameras

Wilton will become the second Fairfield County police department to use body cameras in the field following a donation of $5,000 by the Realty Seven Charitable Fund. Acting Chief Bob Crosby made the announcement Friday, Jan. 30, as he accepted the donation from Realty Seven owner Peg Koellmer.

The department anticipates purchasing five Vievu cameras at a cost of $899 each this spring. That would supply each patrol officer per shift.

The body cameras will be an adjunct to the in-car cameras already in Wilton police cruisers. Those cameras are activated when the officer turns on his lights and siren. The body cameras would be manually activated by the police officers.

“Body cameras will be used to enhance our in-car videos, they will be used to get indisputable evidence for crimes, and will also help to prevent false allegations against officers,” Chief Crosby said. “It is an asset that I think in the future of law enforcement most officers will be wearing body cameras.”


Whether in court or ascertaining the propriety of a police officer’s behavior, the cameras, he emphasized, will provide “indisputable evidence.”

There have been complaints against Wilton police by those they have stopped or arrested, Chief Crosby said.

“Recently we had a claim that an officer was inappropriate in patting down a suspect,” he said. Video from the officer’s car and in police headquarters exonerated the police officer of any misbehavior, he said.

The cameras are viewed as an asset by police particularly in helping them remember everything that was said between an officer and the person he or she is questioning, Chief Crosby said.

“The main thing is to get evidence.”

Westport Police Department is the only other department in Fairfield County with body cameras at this time, although Chief Crosby said many other departments are testing them out.

Wilton police, on a volunteer basis, tested a different model, made by Taser, last year, but they chose to go with Vievu. Overall, however, they were pleased with the way the cameras worked.

Protocol on how the cameras will be used is yet to be defined, Chief Crosby said. Police administrators will confer with the officers’ union and area police departments on their experiences before working out a specific plan of standard operating procedures.

Chief Crosby said the initial cost of the cameras was not the department’s budget for the coming year, but acknowledged the Realty Seven donation was “a good start” and the department would look to the town for future costs.

Vievu says its body cameras for law enforcement are “hands-free, rugged and waterproof.” They stream and store real-time video, which the police plan first on putting on a desktop computer and eventually a server.

The cameras, which weigh less than three ounces, clip to a uniform to record actions of the wearer and those in the field.

“The lens allows for the most accurate forensic analysis, distance measurements, crime scene reconstruction and ensures maximum evidentiary value,” the company says.

This is the most recent in a long line of donations by the Realty Seven Charitable Fund, which was started in 2005 by the brokerage’s agents “as a way to give back to the community,” a press release said. Agents donate a portion of the their commissions to the fund. Some of the fund’s larger gifts were the renovation of the Wilton Volunteer Ambulance Corps headquarters and assistance in renovating the Wilton Senior Center.

The fund has made additional donations to the police department as well as the Wilton Fire Department, Wilton Social Services, Wilton CERT, Wilton Library Robotics Team, Stop Hunger Now, Wilton Warm Up Fund, Wilton Extra Curricular Activities Fund, and Wilton Emergency Management.