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How much does it cost to outfit officers in El Paso County with body-worn cameras?

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- A Colorado state proposal that would require law enforcement officers to wear body-worn cameras has cleared its first hurdle with approval from the senate.

The police accountability bill still needs approval from the house of representatives and the governor before becoming law.

It's unclear who would pay for the additional body cameras. The bill indicates there are grants available, but it's not clear if every agency qualifies.

The bill is already causing concern for some southern Colorado police departments.

A KRDO investigation reveals that not all departments within El Paso County have a body-worn camera for every officer in their agency.

13 Investigates analysis of the data also found law enforcement agencies in El Paso County are spending different amounts for systems that store officer body-camera footage.

The Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD) has a total of 759 officers, with 33 recruits are currently training in the police academy. CSPD said 520 of its 572 cameras a deployed and assigned to officers. CSPD began testing body cameras in 2014 and fully implemented them in September 2016. CSPD spends over three-quarters of a million dollars on its body camera system yearly. A spokesperson told KRDO the agency deployed all of its body cameras by the summer of 2017. In 2019, CSPD paid over $572,000 to its body camera vendor. The department pays an additional $20,000 annually for data transmission and equipment. CSPD also pays $150,000 in pay and benefits for evidence technicians who handle the video and court-related requests for the video.

El Paso County Sheriff's Office (EPCSO) purchased its first cameras in the summer of 2017. EPCSO currently has a body camera for all 150 officers who work for the agency. A spokesperson estimates it costs just over $1,000 a year for the cameras and storage space.

Palmer Lake Police Department has three body cameras for its nine officers, including the chief. The Palmer Lake Police Chief said all officers are required to wear body cameras while on patrol shift. Palmer Lake PD first obtained body cameras in 2017 and replaced those cameras with a new system in November 2019. The small department estimates the body cameras cost $500 each. Palmer Lake's current system is run through cell phones and costs approximately $3,000 a year for licensing and storage.

The Fountain Police Department owns 60 body cameras for its 58 officers. Fountain PD first purchased body cameras in 2015 and upgraded its system in 2017. In 2015, Fountain PD spent $60,000 in 2015. In 2017, the body camera system update in 2017. The current annual cost for Fountain PD is $125,000.

The Manitou Springs Police Department has 17 body cameras for its 15 officers. Manitou purchased its body cameras in 2018 for $40,000 paid over 5 years. Manitou Springs PD's annual costs include storage of data and the purchase of the cameras. A spokesperson for the department said while the cost is expensive for a small agency, the cost is "worth every penny".

The Monument Police Department currently has a body camera for all 19 of its officers. Monument PD first purchased body cameras in 2014. The agency said the first generation of cameras only lasted 2 and a half years. Each camera purchased by Monument PD costs around $500, with an annual licensing and storage fee of $6,000.

The Calhan Police Department did not respond to multiple request from KRDO for information related to body cameras and the costs associated with them.

Colorado Springs / News

Chelsea Brentzel

Chelsea is an investigative reporter for KRDO NewsChannel 13. Learn more about Chelsea here.

Comments

4 Comments

  1. “and requires all recordings of an incident be released to the public within 14 days after the incident.” This is language from the summary of the bill as posted online.
    What “incident” does this refer to and who can request the release and see the video. If someone is raped and the responding officer has a body camera, who can request the recording or is it going to be automatically posted after 14 days?

    1. That’s going to be the big issue with this bill. You’re going to be able to see unredacted video of dead kids, rape victims, badly injured domestic violence victims, videos from inside hospital Ears (because remember, it’s automatically misconduct if the officer doesn’t record part of a call now).

  2. If they would spend less time chasing weed and more time on other things they would have money.

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