New Haven to spend $ 12 million on 500 new surveillance cameras and the ShotSpotter expansion

The council of aldermen approved the spending by a voice vote, which did not record who voted for or against the measure, acting on a unanimous positive recommendation last month by the council’s finance committee.

Alder Steven Winter, D-21, whose neighborhood includes Prospect Hill and part of Newhallville, said the alders had seen no “argument or evidence” that cameras and other technological improvements would prevent crime – and have said they are not addressing the root cause of the violence. in the city, what he said is poverty.

Given that, “we shouldn’t be approving $ 12 million, or more than 10 percent of our total funding” for ARPA without such evidence, Winter said.

East Rock Alder Charles Decker, D-9, also had questions about the cameras but was convinced by the testimony of community leaders at the committee meeting.

Newhallville Alder Jeanette Morrison, D-22, spoke out in favor of the proposal, however, saying that while “we have a lot of issues” that go unresolved, cameras would be an important tool, and “if that ‘ is on tape, it is on tape.

“It’s necessary,” Morrison said. “It’s just another tool” the police can use in a tech-driven world, “and if we don’t approve of something like that, we’ll be way behind. “

East Rock Alder Anna Festa, D-10, urged the Alders to slow down and consider the matter carefully before voting. “Why are we rushing this? ” she asked. “I just think we need to take our time and be thoughtful.”

But Alder Darryl Brackeen Jr. said it wasn’t called the “US bailout” for nothing, and “it’s an emergency.” He said the alders cannot block resources one week and expect the police department to take action the next.

Majority Leader Richard Furlow, D-27, who favored the spending, pledged to push communication to iron out policy governing the use of cameras.

Several members of the finance committee who initially had doubts about how an expansion of CCTV cameras could affect civil liberties said at the time of the committee’s vote that their votes were influenced by the testimony of interim chief Renee Dominguez and Deputy Chief Karl Jacobson, as well as the arguments of five community leaders who spoke in favor of the request.

Ice the Beef President Chaz Carmon, Varick Memorial Church Pastor AME Zion, Kelcy Steele, Newhallville Community Management Team Leader Kim Harris, Project Longevity Program Leader Stacy Spell and city ​​youth and recreation department youth services specialist Ronald Huggins all pleaded for approval.

The cameras would cost $ 3.8 million, and the ShotSpotter expansion would get $ 1.2 million in federal ARPA funding.

Most of the police department’s money would be used to expand police foot patrols and “quality of life” patrols to combat things like drag races and groups of motorcycles and quads, as well as to upgrade aging equipment in the city’s two data centers. in the Hall of Records and Police Headquarters, build a new data center on Wintergreen Avenue, upgrade the city’s computer-aided dispatch system, and expand the city’s Wi-Fi capability.

ShotSpotter’s capacity would be extended further east into Fair Haven and Fair Haven Heights as well as west into Westville and West Hills.

The money would also be used to pay signing bonuses of $ 10,000 for side transfers to the police department – new, already trained and certified officers transferred from other departments. Even with the signing bonuses, each lateral transfer saves the city $ 22,000 – plus months of training – compared to training a new recruit, Dominguez told the committee in November.

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