During the month of March our office organized multiple community conversations on the use of drones and surveillance technology. The conversations were held in different neighborhood quadrants of the city and would not have been possible without the direct collaboration and sponsorship of various community partners. Among them, the Greater Hartford Chapter of the NAACP, Faith Congregational Church, Hartford 2000 Inc., YWCA of Hartford Region, the American Civil Liberties Union and Boston Police Camera Action Team (BPCAT). The conversations made space for the community to express direct thoughts, suggestions and concerns about policy surrounding surveillance technology for City of Hartford departments such as the Hartford Police and Fire.
Given that Hartford is 18 sq. miles long, with 900 street cameras currently accessible to HPD for surveillance, as well as software ranging from shot-spotter, license plate readers, predictive policing technology such as "Crimespace", along with the new use of body cameras, and with the purchase of drones, we intentionally wanted to hear directly from constituents on what their thoughts and questions were regarding drones use and surveillance technology as a whole.
We also want to thank all of the individuals who made the community conversations possible, among them: Councilwoman Claudine Fox, Attorney Josh Michtom, Melvin Medina of the ACLU, Pastor Stephen Camp, NAACP Greater Hartford President Maxien Lewin-Robinson, Melinda Johnson of the YWCA, Marion Griffin Co-Chair of Hartford 2000 Inc., Segun Idowu of BPCAT), Re-Center & Professors Bilal Sekou, Abigail Williamson & William Dunlap.
The community conversations on drones and surveillance technology culminated with a panel discussion followed by community conversations held at the Hartford Public Library the last week of March. It was well attended with over 100 attendees. Special thanks to the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving for making the final event possible! Next steps, taking transcribed comments and ideas to draft an Ordinance that reflects the communities input. More updates to be announced soon...
Click here to access the Resolution concerning authorization to accept a Grant from the Connecticut Department of Economic Development and Community Development to improve the quality of life in Hartford.
In December of 2017, the Mayor pushed for the City of Hartford to accept a $2.5million grant from the State of Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development. Funds were sought after by State Senator John Fonfarra and grant was drafted by his office. These funds were earmarked to go to the Hartford Police Department. Some City of Hartford Councilmembers felt strongly about approving the grant, because it included a provision for the funds to be used to acquire surveillance technology, including drones. Some Councilmembers believed the use of surveillance technology by the HPD would be a good resource for catching illegal ATV activity. After, the Hartford City Council approved the grant, the HPD purchased two $100,000 drones from Aero Surveillance. Currently, there are no state laws that regulate drone use.
This document is a breakdown of the use and purpose of drones and surveillance equipment and a proposed ordinance amending the Hartford Municipal Code to set boundaries for the use of the technology.
Our proposed Ordinance, submitted on November 13, 2018, by Councilwomen rJo Winch, Claudine Fox and Councilmen T.J. Clarke and Larry Deutsch, forces municipal departments in the City of Hartford, like the Hartford Police Department to seek approval from the City Council to purchase or use new surveillance technology, and it guarantees that you, the Hartford community, will have a voice in that process. When our city fails to keep police surveillance technology in check and keep the public informed, Hartford residents will suffer the consequences, and your faith in our democracy will be undermined. Therefore, we are asking for your support to pass our Ordinance and restore the community’s control over police surveillance.Read more
Below are some documents with more information regarding the Surveillance and Drone Use Ordinance.
- Click here to see the complete document and a summary of the Ordinance that was submitted last Monday. An Ordinance Amending Chapter 2 of the Hartford Municipal Code, Adding sections 2-48 and 2-49.
- Click here for more information and talking points