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Greeley Police Department to steer clear of body camera use, for now

Cost would exceed $500,000 said the police chief
Posted at 6:44 PM, Dec 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-15 21:41:54-05

GREELEY, Colo.-- Body-worn cameras are revolutionizing police work, many law enforcement experts believe. But the Greeley Police Department won’t be using them any time soon.

This comes after Greeley Police Chief Jerry Garner told city council members Tuesday that body cameras weren’t a good fit for the department right now.

Garner said the cost would exceed $500,000 just to get them on the streets, not to mention all of the other considerations.

“There's a lot of things that have to be considered beyond the purchase of the actual equipment.  The training, there's a lot of backup with staff and storage and cloud stuff that has to do with the extra money that's going to be needed to keep the program going," said Greeley police spokesman Joe Tymkowych.

Despite eight fatal officer-involved shootings since 2014 in Greeley, in which all the officers' actions were deemed justified, steering away from body cams isn't just about a cost savings.

“I think every department has a hard time coming up with a half a million dollars. We're also trying to bring our force up to where it should be," said Tymkowych.

Police leaders say there is a lot of trust between officers and the community in and around Greeley, and the city isn’t like many others that require body cameras for transparency with the public.

“We just don't have any problems with excessive use of force. We haven't had one sustained complaint of excessive use of force in over two years now," said Tymkowych.

The nearby Evans Police Department has been using the body cameras for over a year now and say the cameras have helped investigate and prosecute cases, and also kept police officers serving within the laws.

But other police leaders can’t begin to blame Greeley for the decision.

“There's agencies and cities that I can't argue with them -- when they say this just isn't right for our culture, this just isn't right for our community, we have other priorities that are more important right now and more pressing,” said Evans Police Chief Rick Brandt.

Just because Greeley said body cameras aren’t needed right now, they don’t mean never.  It’s likely they will be considered again sometime in the future.

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