Denver police officers who work on streets to get body cameras

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DENVER -- More body cameras equal fewer arrests, according to a study out after the Denver Police Department tried out the wearable cameras in 2014.

The department released the findings Tuesday as well as a draft of the rules for the body camera program moving forward. Researchers compiled data from the 105 officers who wore body cameras for a six-month period last year.

When compared to officers in Denver who were not wearing cameras, those who wore the cameras were 18 percent less likely to make an arrest and 35 percent less likely to get a use of force complaint.

Police are using what it learned from the trial to put together rules for the department-wide program.

Beginning in late 2015, every street officer will be equipped with a body camera. They will be required to turn it on any time there is a chance of an arrest or altercation. Situations include contact with pedestrians, weapons calls and traffic stops.

Critics say Denver’s policies do not go far enough, though. The city’s Office of the Independent Monitor also released a study recommending body cameras for off-duty officers, too.

“Going from zero to 800, that’s not a small feat. So we need to get the cameras out there. We don’t need to be holding up on do we or don’t we. Let’s get them out there. Let’s get them out on patrol and then we certainly can circle the wagons and have that discussion as to what other options are available and how do we fund that,” Cmdr. Magen Dodge said.

It's a $6.1 million program. The department said the cameras will help improve public safety, officer safety and trust in the community.

The draft policy still has to go through a public comment period. About 200 of the cameras are set to be with officers on the the streets with officers in District 6 and the gang unit by December. The remaining 600 officers will get their cameras by next summer.

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