DENVER (CBS4) – A big change is coming to the Denver Police Department. In addition to guns and body armor, some officers will soon be armed with cameras.
The cameras will be used as part of a 6-month pilot program to restore the relationship between Denver police and the public, especially in Lower Downtown. The cameras are half the size of “Go Pro” cameras and Police Chief Robert White says he is hoping the tiny cameras will bring a big dose of credibility to the department.
The cameras are the newest tool in the push for transparency in the Denver Police Department.
“As I turn my head it’s scanning and looking at whatever I’m looking at,” Detective Tony Weathersby said.
Over the next few weeks every officer in District 6, which includes LoDo, will be equipped with the tiny body cameras. White said the cameras will record potentially volatile situations. The goal is to protect officers and the public.
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“Individuals make allegations … ‘The officer did this or the officer did that.’ Or the officers make allegations, ‘I did this, or I did that’ based on the incident, White said. “It’s right there on the camera.”
Weathersby showed CBS4’s Tom Mustin how they work. The cameras are attached to the officer’s lapel or glasses. They are as light as a pen and plugged into a tiny digital recorder that can be activated by the officer. The video is synched to the officer’s smartphone.
“Essentially I’m the producer and director of my own video involving my police action and interaction with the public,” Weathersby said.
All video is automatically uploaded to the police server and cannot be deleted by an officer.
White said officers have been told to roll the cameras when entering any dangerous situation. He said departments in California and Pennsylvania have had great results with the cameras and he’s happy Denver is following suit.
“From my perspective it’s a safety issue and will clearly identify the truth,” White said.
White said the cameras will also help with courtroom testimony and with writing reports. His goal is to have cameras on all of the officers within 18 months.
The cameras cost approximately $800 apiece.