In 2020, the state legislature passed Senate Bill 20-217, requiring all police agencies in Colorado to implement Body Worn Camera programs by 2023.
Now, as the city is on the verge of rolling out its program, Lakewood PD has released a video featuring Police Chief Dan McCasky answering questions about body worn cameras and the impact their use may have on policing in Lakewood.
In the video, McCasky said Lakewood will start implementing its program early this year, using Axon 3 Body Worn Cameras. He said all patrol officers will wear the camera in plain sight, either on their chest or belt area. The cameras will capture both audio and video or police interactions with the public.
“When an agent responds to a call for service, they will be required to turn their camera on,” McCasky said. “ In addition, agents will manually activate their cameras upon all officer initiated enforcement and investigative contacts including traffic stops.”
According to McCasky, If an agent draws their taser or firearm, the body camera and those immediately around them will automatically be activated as well.
Finally, he reminds members of the public that they should assume they’re being recorded during any interaction with Lakewood police.
“Under the newly-enacted legislation, there are very few situations in which law enforcement would not be recording an interaction with the public,” McCasky said.
Start-up costs for the program are estimated to be $1.4 million, with an estimated annual cost of $1.4 million thereafter. McCasky said those costs include not only equipment, but software, cloud storage, infrastructure and the salary of additional employees to run the program.
At the end of the video, McCasky said his department welcomes the program as a way to increase transparency, furthering the mission to serve and protect with integrity, intelligence and initiative and also to show the community the type of situations Lakewood PD agents face on a daily basis.
Allegations of excessive use of force and discriminatory tactics have been brought against Lakewood PD in the last few years, leading to increased scrutiny from members of the public and most recently, from Lakewood City Council member Anita Springsteen.