Milford police to receive new body cams, Tasers

The Milford, Conn., police headquarters building.

The Milford, Conn., police headquarters building.

Jill Dion / Hearst Connecticut Media

MILFORD — Milford police will soon receive new body cameras and Tasers as part of a five-year deal with Arizona-based Axon Enterprise.

The Board of Alderman unanimously approved the agreement between Axon and the Milford Police Department Monday. The contract calls for Milford police to pay $265,000 in year one, with $265,000 paid annually in years two through five of the deal.

According to Axon, its energy weapons to body-worn cameras and digital evidence management system Axon Evidence seamlessly integrate. Law enforcement can also connect with partners from county officials to neighboring agencies to prosecutors working a case.

“We are adding 12 additional pieces of hardware and the associated peripherals that come with that, but we also have to have a cloud storage account,” Police Chief Keith Mello told the aldermen.

Mello said five years ago, they contracted with Axon to deliver hardware peripherals and the back-up software. That contract was about $169,000.

“The cost of this contract not only includes the new devices, new hardware, new peripherals, new backend features but also includes the new tasers,” Mello said. “It also includes maintenance cost and data storage cost.”

Mello said they use cloud storage to store body camera footage. He said it was a good decision because since the state legislature signed the Police Accountability Bill, every police officer in the field has to record everything. Therefore, some recordings have to be kept on cloud storage for a while. For routine data, the storage time is 90 days, but if the video has some evidentiary value, it could be kept the life of the case.

They also have to buy new software because Axon doesn't support their current software.

“We have to buy new cameras, and we have to buy new peripherals, which are mounds and chargers and so forth,” he said. “They also offer the back end piece, and that back end piece is a software that allows us to redact, catalog and retain the different categories of video.”

He said the software also allows them to share the video with law enforcement partners such as prosecutors. It also provides unlimited space on cloud storage.

“This also offers streaming features, and no other vendor in the space can do that. We’ve been asking for streaming video for 25 years. They tried it with body cams, but they had problems with latency and the size of the packets,” Mello said. “Axon has just come out with this new equipment that allows us to see what the officer sees in the field, and no one else is doing that.”

Mello said they also have to get new tasers because they are integrated with the body cameras.

“When the police officer pulls their taser out, the body camera turns on, whether they turn it on or not,” he said. “Everyone's body camera turns on within a 30-foot range, and that is important for a variety of reasons. In stressful conditions, officers can sometimes forget to turn on their camera.”