PUEBLO, Colo. (KRDO) -- The new year comes with new gear for the Pueblo Police Department. In April of 2020, the city’s patrolmen will be equipped with brand new bodyworn cameras.
Pueblo police will receive the upgraded cameras after coming to an agreement with Axon Enterprise on a new five-year contract.
Earlier this month, Pueblo City Council approved the purchase of $2.1 million worth of new cameras. The funds will come from the Ballot Initiative 2B, which was already approved by Pueblo voters to provide further funding for the city's law enforcement.
“New cameras means new technology with those cameras," said Sgt. Franklyn Ortega with the Pueblo Police Department. "Right now we have the Axon Body 2. We will have the Axon Body 3.”
Pueblo police believe these new cameras will provide clearer video and audio, all while helping build stronger cases and providing more transparency to the public.
The Pueblo Police Department patrol officers have worn body cameras since 2014.
“Initially we had some officers who didn’t see the value in the body cameras," said Ortega. "But now you’ll be hard-pressed to find any officer that doesn’t appreciate having a body camera.”
In the past six years, the department says they’ve learned a lot when it comes to using body cameras, but they’ve also received criticism, specifically on when the footage should be released to the public.
“The thing to remember is that it is released, not necessarily early or right now or as soon as people want to see it, but it is released," said Ortega. "That’s the capability that we had that we didn’t have prior to 2014, when we didn’t have body-worn cameras.”