Finance board approves body camera purchase

The Board of Finance voted during its May 16 meeting to allow the Wilton Police Department to purchase approximately $177,000 worth of body camera equipment to be reimbursed by the state as part of the Body-Worn Recording Equipment (BWRE) Reimbursement Grant Program.

“The state had approximately $10 million in funding for body cameras for the state of Connecticut police force, but a lot of [towns] have not taken the opportunities to get these funds,” Chief Financial Officer Anne Kelly-Lenz explained. There is $8.5 million still available.

Kelly-Lenz said the town would have to get the equipment in and purchased before June 30 — the end of the current fiscal year.

“They have to get a stand-alone server … then there’s obviously the equipment for the body cameras themselves. It’s coming in at about $177,000 — [Capt. Thomas Conlan] thinks it’s going to be a little bit less,” she said.

“This is a reimbursement as you go. There’s no matching to it, so we spend it and they [the state] reimburse us up to it.”

Since the equipment has to be purchased by June 30, Kelly-Lenz said, the police department is “doing quotes right now.”

“They’re looking at what’s compatible with the vehicles that they have, the computers that we have, and they’re working closely with IT to make sure that they have all those requirements in place,” she said.

Board of Finance Chair Jeff Rutishauser asked it there is a 100% chance the state will pay the town back.

“I would say yes. This is money that they have in, and they can’t use that money for operating,” said Kelly-Lenz.

“It’s kind of like the bonding — once they have it, they can’t pull it away as an earmark for operating.”

If everything required is done by June 30, Kelly-Lenz said, the town will get the full 100% reimbursement for the equipment, “plus one year’s worth of the contract would be covered.”

Click here for information on the BWRE Reimbursement Grant Program.