DENVER (CBS4) – Denver police officers will activate their body cameras whenever they’re called into service. That policy became public Tuesday on the heels of a study that looked at the effects of the cameras.
No Denver police officer currently is outfitted with a body camera, but all that is going to change next year as the study with the University of Cambridge showed that the cameras are good for the safety of the public, as well as holding officers accountable.
Police say body cameras are an invaluable tool in fighting crime.
“It changes behavior both on the recordee and the recorders,” Cmdr. Magen Dodge with Denver police said.
The six-month study found both officers and citizens are better off when they know someone else is watching.
“The officers keep asking, ‘When are we getting these back?'” Dodge said.
It’s the first time a study looked at a larger city’s results with body cameras on officers. Denver’s study showed that officers with cameras were 18 percent less likely to make an arrest and 8 percent less likely to use force.
“I think that that shows that the officers in Denver use force judiciously,” Dodge said.
The study also showed body cameras saved a significant amount of investigation time spent on complaints, allowing officers more time on the streets. But earlier this year the Denver Independent Monitor criticized the department saying only about one in four use-of-force situations were actually recorded. Denver police disputed those numbers saying a higher percentage was caught on video.
“They’re able to show what actually happened on scene,” Dodge said.
Overall Denver police say the results of the study mirror their own findings and those of many other cities across the country — that the more eyes and ears on a situation make policing safer and more effective.
In a $6.1 million budget plan the Denver Police Department will outfit some 800 police officers with body cameras, specifically choosing officers who spend the most time with the public. Overall that’s more than half the police department.