Colorado State Patrol launches body-worn camera program in southern Colorado

EL PASO COUNTY – The Colorado State Patrol now uses body-worn cameras. They will be introduced gradually throughout Colorado, starting with the southeast region of the state.

The priority message at launch is concise. Soldiers want everyone to know that body-worn cameras are now recording all interactions.

The tool is used to better document soldiers’ response to official interactions with the public. Video and audio are evidence that can be used in court.

Colorado State Patrol leaders were examining body-worn cameras when the 2020 state legislature passed what is sometimes called the police reform bill. Passage of the bill accelerated the addition.

“The State Patrol was investigating the use of body-worn cameras before the Senate bill was introduced,” said Trooper Josh Lewis, “The Senate bill just sped up a bit our schedule. In fact, he gave us funding to be able to deploy them and adequately support the program.”

The addition of body cameras represents an investment of $8 million. One of the most expensive parts is the very large amount of computer memory needed to store all the records for several years.

Southeast Colorado was selected for launch because the region includes a mix of metropolitan and rural areas. It provides a wide range of scenarios to iron out new system issues.

The next area to get the cameras is the Denver Metro. The soldier working there will have them by the end of October. Soldiers across the state will be equipped by spring 2023.

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Ryan H. Bowman