RoboCops in Denver?

October 2013

In what sounds like a script for a RoboCop remake, the Denver Police Department is considering using card-sized body cameras on its officers as a way to secure court convictions and make police—and the general public—more accountable for their actions.

The Denver Post reported this week that DPD chief Robert White is a proponent of putting the cameras on officers, though an official decision has yet to be made. (Many officers in Fort Collins and in Lone Tree already use the cameras.) "It's an objective third eye if there is ever a dispute between an officer or a citizen," Mike Fergus, the program director in the technology center of the International Chiefs of Police Association told the Post. "[Agencies] realize it does protect the department, it protects the officers, and it protects the public if there is a question about what happened. It's very, very valuable."

Officers with cameras press a button on the device to begin recording, though a buffer captures 30 seconds before the taping to show how a situation escalated. The cameras—such as the ones used in Fort Collins—can cost up to $500 each. Two years ago, Denver put itself in a 60-day pilot program but the Post says that trial “yielded few conclusions, except that the department needed to do more research.” We hope that study finds a way to use a riff on the movie's slogan: "Part [hu]man. Part machine. All cop."

—Image courtesy of Shutterstock