Police body camera bill moves forward at Colorado Legislature

Photo: Police body camera bill (AP Photo)
Chief Jeff Streeter, back, of the Lone Tree Colorado Police Department, makes a point while testifying in support of a bill advanced by Colorado State Rep. Daniel Kagan, D-Englewood, front, before a committee of the House of Representatives Tuesday, March 31, 2015, in Denver. Kagan's measure is aimed at encouraging police departments to buy body cameras for officers.

Lawmakers at the Colorado state Capitol have advanced a grant program to expand the use of body cameras by police. It's one of a handful of measures in response to police killings around the country.

Rep. Daniel Kagan, D-Englewood, said while some metro area cities already employ body cameras, their use should be expanded.

“They’ve been shown to have a civilizing effect resulting in improved behavior among both police officers and citizens. And they have tremendous evidentiary benefits. They help exonerate police officers against erroneous claims," said Kagan, who cosponsored the bill.

Yuma County Sheriff Chad Day, representing County Sheriffs of Colorado, also supports the bill.

“These tools, as many others that are available to law enforcement, are cost prohibitive for us," Day said. "To hear about a bill that creates a grant program for us to be able to consider adding this kind of tool is certainly a positive thing for us.”

Even when departments have cameras, questions remain about how to store data. The Larimer County district attorney's office is struggling to keep up with the terabytes of data Fort Collins Police Services' cameras produce, the Coloradoan reports Wednesday.

The bill would also create a body camera study group to study best practices for the use of the systems. The House Judiciary Committee also approved legislation dismissing charges brought due to an unlawful order by police and improving police training policies.