New Denver policy saves more jail video for longer periods of time

From The Denver Post:  Denver officials have decided to save more jail video footage and for longer periods, buying more time for inmates who wait to file excessive-force complaints after their release.

Stephanie O’Malley, executive director of the Denver Department of Public Safety, told The Denver Post on Tuesday that the new policy was put into effect last week.

The policy shift comes in response to complaints from critics, including the city’s independent monitor and attorneys who represent former inmates.

The policy specifies what footage recorded by jail security cameras will be saved and how long the Denver Sheriff Department would save it, based on the content. For example, footage of any use of force now must be saved for five years.

In the past, video was stored for just 30 days, meaning footage of inmate abuses often had been deleted by the time an inmate filed a complaint.

“The 30-day video retention period was problematic,” O’Malley said. “It’s going to take evidence storage to a new level.”

Those who have criticized the old retention policy said the changes are a step in the right direction for a department that has been rocked by excessive-force claims and an ongoing effort to reform it. But there are concerns the policy still doesn’t do enough.

“I commend the department for taking action to address this important issue,” said Monitor Nick Mitchell, who raised the issue last fall in a letter to the City Council.

Storing footage of use-of-force cases is critical to internal investigations.

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