Casper PD Moving to Equip Officers With Body-Worn Cameras [VIDEO]
The Casper Police Department isn't far from selecting a vendor for body-worn cameras, which the department plans to issue to officers as part of a larger effort to improve its ability to capture audio and video recordings.
Ten vendors have submitted bids to provide the body cameras, following the department's request for proposals. The department may select a vendor next week.
The department has been testing body-worn cameras from three vendors since May, and wrapped up that phase last week. Once deciding upon a vendor, the department will source all of its video equipment from that company.
"The officers seem to really like them; they're getting good footage. People are responding well to them. We're not seeing a lot of kickback from the public," Scott Hoffman, the department's police technologies manager, told reporters on Tuesday.
Hoffman says the department is looking at upgrading video cameras in police interview rooms as well as in-car video systems, in addition to issuing body-worn cameras.
Police departments across the country have begun issuing body-worn cameras to officers over the past several years. It's a measure that advocates such as the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts have encouraged for years.
"Body cameras are an important step towards greater oversight and accountability for police officers. When implemented with appropriate civilian privacy protections, they can build community trust and improve safety on both sides of the badge," the group said earlier this year.
"I think it's going to go both ways, really. I think it's going to be us getting more of what's happening on-scene, and then I think the behavior of both sides is actually going to improve for everybody," Hoffman told reporters.
"Every bodycam is different, so you get a different feature set from everybody. Some of them, you can actually see the live view from right then and there," Hoffman said of some features available on different models of body-worn camera.
The price tag for the Casper Police Department to issue body-worn cameras to officers is in the neighborhood of $400,000, Hoffman said. When upgrades for interview room cameras and in-car video systems are included, the figure rises to $1.3 million.
Hoffman says a definite timeline for the issuance of body-worn cameras to Casper police officers has not been established.
"I think that's all going to depend on the funding and what decision we make and how soon we can get them," Hoffman said. "It's going to be a pretty large order, and getting everything in place at the same time."