In the ongoing public debate over deaths caused by police in other states, body cameras have emerged as a popular solution. Now one state lawmaker says he wants to do more to encourage Colorado law enforcement to start using them.
Rep. Daniel Kagan, D-Cherry Hills Village, is working on a bill to give police departments more incentives to purchase the cameras.
"The important thing is that there will be confidence in the public that they will be treated fairly and respectfully by the police whenever they interact with them," Kagan said. "One way of rebuilding that trust and confidence, which is sorely eroded, is to make sure we have a record of what transpires between the police and members of the public."
Kagan said he doesn’t want the state to force police departments to buy cameras, calling that a "nuclear option." And he acknowledges there are still a lot of details to be worked out, including who pays for the cameras, when they would have to be used, and who would have access to the video files.
"These are not easy questions to answer, and these are the questions that I'll be working on over the coming weeks," Kagan said.
The next legislative session starts Jan. 7.
Several police departments in the state already use body cameras or are looking into purchasing them. In August, the Denver Police Department announced it would spend $1.5 million to buy cameras for 800 officers.
In a video, DPD Chief Robert White said cameras can benefit officers, as well as the public.
"People make allegations and I think from the officer’s perspective, those that are out there doing the right thing, this clears up those allegations," said White.