Save this content for laterSave this content on your device for later, even while offline Sign in with FacebookSign in with your Facebook account Close

Months to go before El Paso County deputies begin wearing cameras

March 7, 2017 Updated: March 9, 2017 at 12:01 pm
0
Caption +
Officer Michael Good demonstrates how to place the new CSPD body-worn cameras in his vest at the Police Operation Center on Tuesday, September 20, 2016. Photo by Stacie Scott, The Gazette

The El Paso County Sheriff's Office is moving forward in its plan to equip deputies with body-worn cameras, but the program probably won't be in full swing for another six months.

At a Tuesday meeting, the Board of County Commissioners approved $303,012 to purchase 150 cameras for the agency. Grants from the U.S. Department of Justice probably will account for more than half of the sum, with about $132,300 coming from the county's general fund.

The Sheriff's Office plans to issue about 38 of the cameras in July and equip remaining deputies roughly 45 days later, said Brad Shannon, chief of the Sheriff's Office Law Enforcement Bureau. The agency had originally intended to begin distributing cameras in early 2017, a Sheriff's Office spokeswoman told The Gazette in September.

Shannon attributed to the program's delayed start date to another major project that the Sheriff's Office is working on: integrating its record-management system with systems used by Colorado Springs and Fountain police, making all three agencies' files available to one another.

When the body-worn camera program is fully implemented, all full-time deputies working for the bureau, including 95 patrol sergeants and officers belonging to special units such as K9 and SWAT, will have the devices. The cameras, manufactured by Georgia-based technology company Utility, Inc., are smartphones that slip into the front of specially fitted uniforms.

In addition to startup costs, the body camera program will cost the agency about $150,000 annually - money that will be used to buy software updates and additional storage space on the cloud-based computing system that will be used to save video footage.

Last spring, two Sheriff's Office deputies were given body cameras for a pilot program that lasted several weeks.

The Colorado Springs Police Department has also encountered delays in equipping all 475 of its officers with body cameras. The department's pilot program launched in the fall, about six months after it was slated to begin, when 65 officers from the Gold Hill Division received body cameras. The rest of the department's officers were supposed to receive cameras in December. But Lt. Howard Black, a spokesman for Colorado Springs police, said Tuesday that 125 officers still did not have the devices. That number is expected to drop to about 47 officers at the end of March, Black said.

The department has encountered a variety of obstacles, including ordering uniforms tailored for use of the cameras and technical issues related to the amount of data needed for the camera system, which requires installing routers in police vehicles.

-

The Gazette's Chhun Sun contributed to the reporting of this article.

-

Contact Rachel Riley: 636-0108

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Incognito Mode Your browser is in Incognito mode

You vanished!

We welcome you to read all of our stories by signing into your account. If you don't have a subscription, please subscribe today for daily award winning journalism.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

Wake up with today's top stories in your inbox

Wake up with today's top stories in your inbox

Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?
 
This is your last FREE article for the month
This is your last FREE article for the month

Subscribe now and enjoy Unlimited Digital Access to Gazette.com

Only 99 cents for Unlimited Digital Access for 1 month
Then $2.31/week, billed monthly, cancel anytime
Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?

 
Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

Some news is free.
Exceptional journalism takes time, effort and your support.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

articles remaining
×
Thank you for your interest in local journalism.
Gain unlimited access, 50% fewer ads and a faster browsing experience.