Town of Vail police officers to now wear body cameras | VailDaily.com

Town of Vail police officers to now wear body cameras

Daily staff report
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VAIL — Officers from the Vail Police Department will soon be recording interactions on a new body worn camera system, joining Avon and Eagle along with other departments across the country. Officers are currently undergoing training on how and when to use the system, with a scheduled rollout Monday.

Following the recommendation from the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, Cmdr. Daric Harvey says the department began researching video systems used throughout the nation. Five leading companies were identified using public and private reports on systems that were currently being used in other departments.

After a six-month research project and 60 days of product testing each, the department has purchased the COBAN Echo camera, which is being integrated with the current patrol car cameras the department has been using for the past eight years, Harvey said.

The Echo cameras were more cost-effective than other systems and met the department’s needs to accurately record incidents. Harvey says 40 cameras and a storage system have been purchased within the project budget of $58,000.

Vail Police Chief Dwight Henninger says the body camera program will be used to enhance transparency and evidence collection while balancing the privacy concerns of the public. A draft implementation policy was presented May 3 to the Vail Town Council and has since been adopted by the department. The policy outlines instances when cameras will be activated, such as enforcement actions and use of force, as well as an overview of privacy protection examples, including but not limited to hospitals, places of worship and victims of crimes.

Vail’s policy was drafted based on several model policies, including guidelines from the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the Colorado District Attorney’s Council before being modified using local input from community groups in Vail. The policy ensures that those with a legitimate public interest may request a copy of video recordings, but still protects recognized privacy issues. The policy is available on the department’s website at vailgov.com/police.

For additional details, contact Harvey, 970-477-3433 or email dharvey@vailgov.com.