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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Denver Cops To Test Body Cameras

The Denver Post

Denver could join a growing list of cities where police wear digital cameras to record encounters with the public, a move the local ACLU says could increase officers' accountability but one that raises concerns among privacy advocates.
In two weeks, the Denver Police Department will launch a 60-day pilot program with 23 officers testing the "body-worn digital recording devices," which can be clipped to uniforms or, in the case of one model, worn as a headset. All record audio as well as video. Once that testing is done, the department will decide whether to use the cameras.
The technology will provide evidence that can be used in court and cut down on cases that hinge on the officer's word versus the suspect's, said Lt.

An officer would wear the body camera on his chest. The device records audio as well as video, and one model can be worn as a headset. (Andy Cross, The Denver Post)
Ernie Martinez of the department's Special Investigations Bureau. They also could record incidents of excessive force by police, said Jessie Ulibarri, public-policy director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado. A police surveillance camera mounted near a Lower Downtown nightclub caught the 2009 beating by police of Michael DeHererra and led to the dismissal of two cops in March.
"Based on concerns raised about the pattern of abuse in our law enforcement community, this is a great first step," Ulibarri said of the body cameras.
At least during the trial period, the officers testing the technology will decide when to activate their cameras. If police adopt the devices, protocols could be designed that would remove discretion from officers and specify when they must turn on their camera.
It takes time to get accustomed to the devices, and giving officers discretion over their use will assure that a cop isn't preoccupied with triggering the camera when entering a critical situation, Martinez said.
The ACLU's Ulibarri said the cameras should be on throughout the day.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How many cameras mounted in cars and monitoring devices on the speed and control of patrol cars are routinely disabled by the police? It will never be installed. No cop wants anyone looking over their shoulder. If the cops had known there was the camera mentioned in the article and that the guy was related to a law officer, they would have not beat him, but they did and they got away with it