The Denver Police Department is among the nation’s more cutting-edge departments in their extensive use of body cameras. The police chief agreed to the expansion of body camera use in 2015 after a successful pilot program in downtown had concluded from the previous year. As of late, officers and sergeants who work second jobs are required to wear body cameras at their secondary places of work. The SWAT team will also be required to wear cameras, but due to concerns about secret tactics, the cameras will remain off during planned operations.
Over 1,400 officers in Denver will now wear body cameras while working off-duty assignments, or “moonlighting.” This is a response to the department’s watchdog’s recommendation that body camera use should expand to include off-duty officers, sergeants, and SWAT. This is due to the fact that these cops are frequently involved in use-of-force incidents. There is widespread community support for the use of cameras in the wake of Ferguson, MO and other current events that have highlighted police brutality. The footage acts as a way to hold officers accountable for their actions. Such footage is also highly valuable to investigations of criminal cases.
During the 2014 pilot program, it was discovered that roughly ¼ of all use-of-force incidents were captured by body cameras, which is why there was a big push to provide more cameras to more officers. Technical issues also arose in which the cameras malfunctioned or the officers forgot to power them on. In addition, 35 of 80 of the incidents captured involved sergeants and other supervisors during off-duty assignments. For this reason, the city’s police watchdog recommended that these members should also abide by the new policy. With a bit of reluctance, the department’s police chief agreed to expanding the use of body cameras in 2015.
These cameras will be worn by off-duty officers pursuing other employment. Oftentimes, such officers are hired by private companies as private security and paid by those businesses to conduct these services; however, while wearing their police uniforms, they are required to abide by the policies and procedures of the Denver Police Department. Officers are only required to turn the cameras on during enforcement actions.
Police brutality is a serious issue throughout the country. If you believe that your rights have been violated during an arrest, it may be significant in your criminal defense. Whether you face charges for a misdemeanor or felony offense in Colorado, you need an experienced attorney on your side. Miller Leonard, PC has practiced criminal law for over 17 years. He is a former Special Assistant United States Attorney, a former State Prosecutor, and a former State Public Defender. Contact Miller Leonard at (720) 613-8783 or contact us online for a free consultation.