El Paso County Sheriff's deputies begin wearing body cameras

Published: Jul. 11, 2017 at 9:40 PM MDT
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We've seen time and time again, body cameras on police, telling a story only the video can.

Now, the El Paso County Sheriff's Office is rolling out cameras for their deputies. These cameras are about the size of a cell phone.

At first, 38 deputies will start using these cameras. One hundred and fifty deputies in total will be outfitted with the cameras by fall.

"Get on the ground, get on the ground right now!"

The voice of an officer could be heard from body camera footage during a deadly shooting. The footage absolved a Trinidad police officer in 2014.

"Shots fired, go! Punch it!"

Audio from a video recorded in a 2015 incident. The video helped clear several Pueblo officers from a deadly shooting involving burglary suspects.

In both videos, the suspects had guns pointed at the officers.

On Tuesday, deputies with the El Paso County Sheriff's Office finished their training and will join their regional partners wearing body cameras.

"We are laying it all out on the line," said Commander Clif Northam with the El Paso County Sheriff's Office. "Putting it all out there by wearing the cameras, we're telling the public that we have nothing to hide and we want you, the courts, whoever, to know we are out here to do our job and do it the best we can."

The El Paso County Sheriff's Office is one of the last in the Pikes Peak Region to implement the body-worn cameras. But because they are, they've watched and learned from the growing pains and mistakes of other agencies.

The cameras will snap into new vests and can be turned on manually or with a wristband. In some cases the cameras will turn on automatically.

"Once your emergency lights are activated and the door opens, it automatically records," said Deputy Iora Lowry.

"Anytime the officer is running, it's going to automatically record."

It will also start recording if the officer is down or in a prone position for a certain amount of time.

The sheriff's office says the cost ends up being roughly $84 per month, per deputy.