Larimer Sheriff's Office implements body-camera program
By Dan Karpiel
On Tuesday, the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) announced in a press release the institution of a body-worn camera program.
Over the last year, Sheriff Justin Smith has had the LCSO staff researching and planning to implement the program, according to a press release provided to the Surveyor. Smith announced the decision was made for the LCSO to partner with Axon Enterprises, Inc. for the purchase of the Body 3 cameras, Taser 7 and associated software. The setup is called the Officer Safety Plan 7+ (OSP7+).
The press release stated that the OSP7+ system includes a feature called Axon Citizen, which offers an easy way to collect and manage video evidence captured submitted to the department by citizens via a weblink that deputies can provide. This provides a way for citizens to directly submit photos and videos of an incident to Axon Evidence. The plan also includes the ability to activate all Axon body-worn cameras within 30 feet when a deputy activates an in-car camera, draws their firearm from its holster, and/or arms their Taser 7.
The LCSO also announced that, OSP7+ program, the department also opted to upgrade their in-car cameras and interview room with the Axon system to tie together all aspects of the video capture system. The total cost of the program will be $2.7 million over five years, according to the press release, and will include hiring a new LCSO records technician who will be responsible for the management and release of footage captured by the Axon system.
A total of 150 Body 3 cameras will be purchased by the department and will be given to deputies assigned to patrol, investigations, and jail deputies who transport inmates to court. 300 Taser 7s will be issued, replacing the previously used Taser X2. Deputies will be able to charge their body-worn cameras and download videos remotely as well as have the cameras available to use if they respond to a call while on their way to work or home.
According to information provided, Sheriff Smith believes the video and audio captured by this equipment will enhance their investigative and evidence gathering capabilities, improve officer safety, provide greater transparency to the community and aid in more effective prosecutions. The program will also likely improve the investigation of citizen complaints as well as protect against false allegations of misconduct.
The intent of the policy is for deputies to record interactions with the public when enforcement actions are likely. Policy also includes an expectation for supervisors to verify deputies in their command are properly using the equipment by periodically viewing random recordings.
“The Board of County Commissioners is proud to partner with the Sheriff’s Office to make this important program a reality,” said Commissioner John Kefalas. “Body-worn cameras support the high-quality service our community already receives from the deputies of our Sheriff’s Office. This program is a reflection of Larimer County’s dedication to transparency between our organization and all our community members.”
Training on the OSP7+ system began earlier this month and several deputies are already using the new equipment in the field. The goal is full implementation by mid-July, according to the press release.
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