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Denver police reconsidering body cameras for officers

8:50 PM, Oct 10, 2013   |    comments
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DENVER - 9Wants to Know has learned the Denver Police Department is once again considering body cameras for some of its police officers.

The cameras have been embraced by a handful of police departments across the country as a way to prove and disprove accounts by officers and citizens.

Such video has been used in court cases and in internal affairs investigations to protect not only an officer's job, but to prove if a citizen's complaint is legitimate.

Two years ago Denver Police tested out similar cameras in a pilot program, but the idea was scrapped because of "financial concerns," according to department spokesperson Sonny Jackson. There was also an issue with the specific type of camera being tested, Jackson said.

Jackson told 9Wants to Know Denver Police Chief Robert White likes the idea of body cameras and is still working out a possible plan to use them.

Jackson couldn't offer any more details about any proposed policies involving body cameras. "We're still very much in the early stages," Jackson said.

The issue of body cameras on officers raises a whole host of issues, including a citizen's right to privacy and who may have access to the video.

Denise Maes of the ACLU in Colorado said the body cameras could be a "win-win" for citizens and police just as long as they're used in a way that don't violate a citizen's privacy rights.

"If a police officer were to enter a person's home, we think there should be the option, whether or not the individual wants the camera on or not," Maes said. "Clearly a camera that can tell us objectively what occurred is a better way to go."

Denver's Office of the Independent Monitor which oversees citizen complaints against police fully supports the use of the body cameras.

"In other cities, body cameras have been associated with large reductions in uses of force and may have helped protect officers from false complaints. They will help to enhance the effectiveness of policing in Denver," Independent Monitor Nicholas Mitchell said in a written statement.

9Wants to Know reached out to the union representing Denver police, but a woman who answered the phone said nobody was available to speak to the press.

Have a comment or tip for investigative reporter Jeremy Jojola? Call him at 303-871-1425 or e-mail him

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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