carlo capano

Behind The Badge: Chief Carlo Capano (Ret.)

Our team doesn’t just talk the talk, they’ve walked the walk. A continuation of ‘Behind The Team’, a blog series interviewing Utility’s Sales team and discussing their experience in law enforcement.

Prior to joining the Utility team, Carlo Capano served as Chief of Police for the Manchester Police Department in New Hampshire. Capano spent 27 years in law enforcement, three years as Assistant Chief, and over two years as Chief of Police. During his time as Chief, he advocated for the implementation of a body camera program for his department. Capano is a graduate of Salem State University, where he found his calling in the legal field. At first, he thought of becoming an attorney then switched to the law enforcement track.

Carlo Capano joined the Utility team as a Business Manager in 2020 to share the importance of implementing technology solutions that can help both law enforcement and the communities they serve.

Capano sat with Utility’s Blog Editor to answer a few questions:

Q: What were some highlights from working in law enforcement?

A: Early on in my career, I worked the midnight patrol shift and was able to help the public. Manchester is the largest city in New Hampshire, so I was working with a wide variety of people in the city. I really liked that, being able to interact with different cultures and different people.

The economic structure of the city included people from various backgrounds. One day I would be interacting with people that were less fortunate, and then the next day, I was dealing with doctors or lawyers. So, we really covered a culturally and economically diverse group of people. I really appreciated that, being able to help people. One of my goals was to do the best for my community.

When I moved into the investigative end of things, I spent the vast majority of my time in investigations, primarily helping victims of violent crimes. I was sent to a polygraph school, so I’m a polygraph examiner. I was able to do a lot of work with children that were physically and sexually abused. Carrying out polygraphs on the suspects. Then working in investigations involving officers being injured or killed in the line of duty. Each experience was emotionally challenging, yet rewarding.

Q: How can technology aid in law enforcement?

A: In my rookie days, there wasn’t a whole lot of technology that we were utilizing. When I first came on we were creating our reports on a typewriter before we had computers. So once that technology started coming into play, you really started to appreciate what technology can do. And then you started seeing the technology that went into the radio system. Where you could communicate without having dead spots throughout the city. So, you started to appreciate what technology could bring to you as an officer.

And then, as you fast forward we started to utilize technology for hotspot mapping, for crime mapping, for patrol to be better able to do your job more effectively. Then we started looking into body cameras. As Chief, I started looking into the technology that was going into the body cameras. Ultimately, we picked BodyWorn because of the technology and what the technology could supply to our agency.

Q: As your agency implemented Utility’s solution, which features became essential to your agency?

A: It was the fact that I was going to be able to get a modem in the vehicle that was going to provide us with GPS connectivity to the officers. The ability to increase our connectivity for the LTE connection that was already in our cars for our laptops. So all of that technology on the backend of things was going to be able to help keep my officers connected on the street. Also, the Officer Down feature and the ability to activate body cameras when they need to be activated was a huge officer safety feature. The ability to activate a body camera when the officer gets in a foot chase and the ability to activate the body camera if the officer draws his weapon from the holster were all important as well.

The biggest feature that drew me to body one was the Officer Down feature. The officer down feature will notify dispatch and it notifies the other officers in the field of exactly where the officer went down. Then with the turn-by-turn GPS directions, you can get to that officer.

Back in 2012, we had one of our officers in a foot chase. We didn’t know where he was during the foot chase because we didn’t have BodyWorn at the time. When he came around the corner, the suspect shot at him fourteen times and hit the officer seven times, fortunately, he survived. In 2015, when I started looking at body cameras, we were going into trial for this incident. I always think about how the officer that was shot was laying on the sidewalk. We were not able to locate him right away. We knew where his cruiser was but we had no idea where he was. Fortunately, a citizen came down after they heard gunshots and flagged us down helping us find the downed officer. We had actually driven by the officer three times and we just couldn’t see him. He was on the sidewalk next to a parked car. And again, fortunately, he’s survived. I think if we had BodyWorn we could have been with him within 10 or 20 seconds of getting that alert from our dispatch center.

Q: What advice would you give to an agency (police department, sheriff’s office, corrections facility, etc.) that is selecting a body camera program?

A: So, my first piece of advice is don’t reinvent the wheel. Speak to some other agencies about their policies and procedures. There are so many good policies out there. It gives you a good idea of what you’re looking for, but then when you’re actually looking for the product for your agency, you always have to get what is the best fit for your agency.

Everybody wants to talk about cost, but again, you can’t compare apples to apples, you have to look at the functionality of the product that you’re getting. For instance, when you go with Utility’s system, you’re getting that RocketIOT for your vehicle. Which is going to be able to provide you with that connectivity support from the vehicle with a safe and secure way to store and offload video data.

You have to look at what the body camera is and what it is offering to you. Is it a GoPro-style camera or is it a computer platform that’s going to give you so much more? So advice-wise, I would say be really careful when you are looking because some body camera solutions provide more officer efficiency and safety tools than others.

As police officers, we are there to serve the Community. If our video is not being produced when it’s supposed to be produced, if the cameras are not recording when they should be recording, that’s a failure on the agency’s part. You don’t want to have that failure on your watch. You want to make sure those cameras are recording on those incidents where they need to be recording, as it’s written in the policy.

Carlo Capano
Chief of Police, Retired, City of Manchester, NH
FBI National Academy, Session 266
FBI LEEDS, 78th Academy
Business Manager, Utility, Inc.

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