State grants will buy 2,855 police body cameras, but storage costs pose expensive problem

Problem Solvers

DENVER (KDVR) — Colorado law enforcement agencies will split a $6 million grant to buy state-mandated body cameras, but the money will not cover the major cost of maintaining and storing the video.

State lawmakers approved the $6 million grant, which will be split among 110 law enforcement agencies.

A press release from the Colorado Department of Public Safety said that’s enough money to purchase all 2,885 body-worn cameras requested by law enforcement agencies.

The state estimates body-worn cameras to cost $1,100 each, which means it will cost $3,173,500 to fund all of the cameras requested.

The remaining $2,826,500 will be divided equally among the law enforcement agencies that requested funding — another $25,695 each.

As FOX31 reported last week though, the physical body-worn cameras are not the major cost put upon agencies having to meet the state’s new mandate to equip all law enforcement officers with body cams by July 1, 2023.

Multiple law enforcement leaders told the Problem Solvers the body cameras are cheap compared to the data storage costs involved in keeping and maintaining countless hours of video.


Body camera costs

Jefferson County Sheriff
363 body cameras: $425,000

Arapahoe County Sheriff
234 body cameras: $283,065

Larimer County Sheriff
225 body cameras: $273,195

Park County Sheriff
35 body cameras: $64,195

Statewide total
2,855 body cameras: $3,173,500


Operational costs eclipse camera purchases

While the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office was awarded $283,065 to purchase 234 body cams, it’s going to spend at least a million dollars next year adding more civilian employees to operate and implement its body cam operation.

In Park County, the Sheriff told the Problem Solvers last week adding body cams to his department will probably cost him $500,000, most of it to cover data storage and the addition of a civilian employee to deal with redactions and record requests.

The Park County Sheriff’s Office was awarded $64,195 to cover 35 body cameras — a far cry from the half-million dollars Sheriff Tom McGraw said he will need.

“$64,000 is quite disappointing,” said Park County Commissioner Amy Mitchell, before adding, “We will have a challenging budget season, which is starting now.”

The largest recipient of the state grant was the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, which received $425,000 to cover 363 body cams.

But multiple agencies (mostly small departments) received the minimum grant amount of $25,695.

Full list: 2021 Body-worn camera grant program allocations

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