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Arapahoe deputies issued body cameras

Sheriff's office deploys 132 cameras to be used by officers


Recording interactions with new body-worn cameras gives the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office a new tool to utliize, said Julie Brooks, the sheriff's office spokeswoman.

“Body-worn cameras are a tool but they are not an end-all be-all,” Brooks said. “It is not always going to show what the community wants to see. It doesn't see every viewpoint. It doesn't show everything the deputy sees … Sometimes it leaves more questions than answers.”

Since May 1, all patrol officers, deputies and sergeants have been issued a body-worn camera to use while policing. Officers assigned to desk jobs do not wear cameras.

Using body-worn cameras is not an entirely new concept to the sheriff's office. The interest in the tool reaches as far back as 2011, when the sheriff's office first began researching the cameras. The department issued 10 cameras to officers in the traffic unit in 2014.

“Body-worn cameras have become an expectation nationwide,” Brooks said.

Brooks said the officers went through technical training in order to learn the functions of the cameras and to know how to download and tag their footage.

The funding for the cameras was budgeted in the 2016 Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office funding package, factoring in $118,000 for the 132 body-worn cameras, $44,000 for the two 60 terabyte storage racks, and $15,000 for the transfer station and various smaller charges.

Organizing the amount of footage is such an immense task that the sheriff's office hired an employee to manage the data.

Footage will remain in the system from a minimum of 30 days and up to three years, depending on the content of the video.

The camera only records an officer's interactions with others. This can create anywhere from two hours to more than 10 hours of data that needs to be downloaded from a camera after each use.

Mandatory recording events include arrests, searches of premises, searches of persons or premises for evidence, traffic stops, field sobriety tests, interviews and interrogations with suspects, confrontational stops and investigatory stops.

Recordings cannot be edited by users, supervisors or administrators. In the case of accidental recording, an officer can request the footage be deleted and the footage will be thoroughly reviewed, Brooks said.

The camera specifications are HD 720 pixels with a 12-hour battery life and a 32-gigabyte internal storage. There is no live streaming or GPS in the cameras.

The users are allowed to review body-worn camera recordings when preparing reports. Brooks said that reviewing the footage ensures that reports are as accurate as possible.

“Ideally we want as many tools as our deputies can use to keep the community safe,” Brooks said.


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