Durango Police Department hears from public about use of body cameras

The Durango Herald: The use of body cameras by Durango Police Department officers is slated to begin in early November with a 30-day trial, and public comment on policies that will guide their use began Thursday with a town hall meeting.

“In a meeting with officers, the main question we got was: When are we going to get one,” said Cmdr. Ray Shupe at the town hall held at the Durango Community Recreation Center and attended by a half dozen residents.

Four to five officers will use the body cameras during the 30-day trial period, after which all uniformed officers will use them. The trial period is intended to break-in use of the new technology.

As currently envisioned, a criminal call would be the main trigger that would key a responding officer to tap the camera to begin the recording process. Recording would extend to the end of the call. Most routine, noncriminal interactions with the public will not be recorded.

In addition, cameras will be set to automatically record if a patrol car hits 80 mph or if the emergency lights in the vehicle are turned on.

Police Chief Kamran Afzal said younger officers are used to ubiquitous video and are eager to integrate cameras and videos into daily routines.

Research shows departments that use body cameras see fewer use-of-force incidents because people interacting with police are less likely to resort to force or escalate situations if they know they are being recorded on video.

Visit The Durango Herald for more.

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