Following multiple roadblocks and delays, officers with the Durango Police Department could be equipped with body cameras by summer 2018.
Up until recently, the daunting task of managing the data associated with body cameras has kept the department from purchasing the devices. Technology has since improved, and new software can help manage the video for the department.
But the cameras do not come cheap, and there is often an ongoing cost for storage, according to DPD spokesman Cmdr. Ray Shupe.
The department is facing a combined cost of about $80,000 for body cameras and the replacement of outdated dashboard cameras in its police cars.
Police departments across the country have chosen to adopt body cameras to counter claims of abuse, ensure transparency and help prosecutions.
DPD is no exception and has considered purchasing body cameras for several years.
“We are a very open department, and we want to be able to document those incidents and encounters with folks on the street,” Shupe said. “If we have problems internally, we want to be able to deal with those in an effective manner.”
Shupe said it is crucial for DPD to replace the dashboard cameras, which are more than 10 years old.
“We are having some catastrophic failures with them (dash cams),” Shupe said. “Several are not operable and the technology is not supported.”
The police department currently uses two cameras, similar to GoPros, for traffic officers using motorcycles.
They, too, are outdated, Shupe said.
“The video is captured to an SD card, and then the officers download it,” he said.
The goal is for both the dash cams and body cameras to run on the same operating system, and DPD is looking at secure cloud storage for the data.
Shupe said the department sent out a request for proposals in November and is waiting to receive bids from companies interested in supplying both types of cameras.
And while there is no exact timeline for implementation of the new cameras, Shupe is hopeful for next summer.
“The purchasing process through the city is a long process,” he said. “We are just limping along with the system we have now until we get these in place.”