Durango-area law enforcement agencies look to adopt body cameras

From The Durango Herald:  Amid a national outcry, the Durango Police Department is moving toward purchasing body cameras, with plans to roll them out department-wide in 2016 or 2017.

The La Plata County Sheriff’s Office and Colorado State Patrol also are considering adopting body cameras. Fort Lewis College police have had body cameras for more than four years.

“They work fine,” Fort Lewis College Police Chief Arnold Trujillo said. “We’ve had a good experience with them. We use them for any contacts – traffic contacts, victim interviews, witness interviews. We use them all the time.”

While the DPD has not had an officer-involved shooting since 2000, pressure is mounting for law-enforcement agencies around the nation to adopt body cameras after a rash of controversial deaths.

“We do have body cameras that our traffic officers wear,” said Lt. Ray Shupe, a Durango police spokesman. “But we are in the middle of researching body cameras for the department right now and policies to implement that.

“We are looking to go in that direction.”

Body cameras raise a host of questions, not only for police accountability but for privacy among those police encounters on a daily basis. For instance, would a video of police interviewing a distraught survivor be archived? And would that video be subject to disclosure according to Colorado’s public records laws? What about when an officer enters a private home to mediate a domestic dispute?

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