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Weare police to wear body cameras during patrols

Last modified: 6/27/2014 12:24:24 AM
Police officers in Weare will soon be required to wear body cameras when on patrol.

Police Chief John Velleca announced the new directive yesterday. He said the 12-officer department has already purchased seven cameras and is awaiting the arrival of five more. The requirement is expected to be in effect in as early as one month.

Velleca said earlier this year that he planned to transition to the cameras as part of an effort to rebuild the department’s reputation after years of lawsuits and an officer-involved shooting last summer that left an unarmed drug dealer dead.

“I think we’ve had a problem with officer deportment here,” Velleca said yesterday. “This is a way we can hopefully correct that.”

“We want to be accountable,” he added.

Under the policy, officers will be required to use the cameras to record any interaction with a civilian. The footage will be downloaded and stored each night on a computer in Velleca’s office, he said.

Civilians will not be allowed to review the footage at the scene, and officers will not be allowed to record each other or other department activity unless authorized by the chief, according to the policy.

Velleca said each camera costs about $300.

In a press release, the department noted “studies have shown that camera-wearing officers were involved in dramatically less use of force related incidents, and behavioral changes were so striking in some studies, both in officers and citizens they encountered, that complaints against the cops wearing cameras declined by nearly 90 percent.”

Velleca said the department has yet to complete its internal investigation into the Aug. 14 shooting at Lanctot’s Plaza. The investigation was launched late this spring following the state attorney general’s own inquiry, which could not determine whether the fatal shooter, Officer Nicholas Nadeau, was justified when he opened fire.

Nadeau has since returned to active duty. The contents of the department’s investigation will remain confidential, but it could result in disciplinary action.

Earlier this month, the town’s insurer paid the family of the victim, Alex Core de Jesus, $300,000 in exchange for the assurance that they will not sue the town for the incident.

(Jeremy Blackman can be reached at 369-3319, or on Twitter @JBlackmanCM.)


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