Plans are being made for the Easton Police Department to acquire body cameras in order to be in compliance with the state’s new police accountability law. The law requires each member of the department to wear a camera at all times while on duty. Department vehicles must also have dashboard cameras.

Chief Richard Doyle presented a proposal to the Board of Selectmen at the board’s last meeting.  The total cost is nearly $50,000. That would purchase 17 body cameras, one for each member of the department as well as two spare cameras to serve as backups should one of the cameras need repair. The proposal also includes dash cams for three cars that are now being used to meet COVID-19 protocols. Five patrol cars currently have dashboard cameras. The total cost includes installation, backup and storage.

The selectmen discussed the need for a special appropriation to cover the cost of the cameras, rather than including it in the budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year.  The Board of Finance also supports a special appropriation for the expense. The special appropriation must be approved by a town meeting before it can be allocated. The town will be able to seek reimbursement for some of the cost through a state grant.  The body camera grant program offers a 30% reimbursement rate. 

Doyle says it would be beneficial for the town to start this project sooner rather than later because all municipalities in the state will eventually have to purchase similar equipment. 

The law requires the body cameras to be in place by July 1, 2022.  Lawmakers passed the bill during a special session last summer and the governor signed it. Provisions of the law are being phased in. Some aspects took effect in October 2020 and additionally in January 2021.

The Board of Selectmen also discussed the following items:

  • The selectmen awarded a bid for the installation of a safety hand rail at the Easton Senior Center as recommended by Public Works Director Ed Nagy. The bid was awarded to the low bidder, Mono-Crete Step LLC, in the amount of $9,930.
  • The Planning and Zoning Commission requested the board’s opinion on the possibility of hiring a drinking water and reservoir management expert to advise, represent and advocate for the town in matters regarding Aquarion Water Company and the company’s desire to transfer a greater amount of water from the town’s reservoirs to lower Fairfield County. The selectmen agreed it’s an option worth exploring but requested more information on potential candidates, costs and scope.
  • The town hosted a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Easton Library.  A second clinic is scheduled for early March. All appointments must be made online in adherence with state guidelines.
  • The Board of Selectmen plans to hold a forum to welcome new residents on March 11.  The forum will introduce new neighbors to many of the resources and opportunities in town.
  • The board continues to explore options to hold a Town Meeting in late March. The intention is to refer all agenda items to a machine vote, and to not hold a vote on individual items during the meeting. The selectmen will discuss potential agenda items at their next meeting.
  • The selectmen reappointed Michael Sabia Sr. as Measurer of Wood for a term that expires Jan. 2, 2022 and Charles Lynch as an alternate to the Zoning Board of Appeals for a term that expires Jan. 2, 2024.

View a recording of the meeting on the town website.

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By Kristi Sogofsky

Kristi currently serves on the Board of Selectmen. She also volunteers her time with several youth and community groups. Kristi worked in local broadcast journalism for 20 years as an anchor and reporter.