The Denver police department is coming up with an innovative way to prevent Ferguson from happening in their community: Bodycams.
Police Chief Robert White has been testing the police-carried mobile cameras for around 3 months, according to ABC 7 News in Denver.
“The only officers that really would have a problem with body cams are bad officers, and I think we have very few bad officers,” Police Chief White said. “The only citizens that would have a problem with bodycams are citizens who want to make false allegations. So, I'm saying that to say that 99% of our officers and 99% of the citizens in our community see this as a win-win situation.”
The Denver Post reports that implementing the police bodycams next year would cost the city $1.5 million and needs to be approved by the city council.
“I'm hoping financially we can afford them,” White told the Post. “Technology is such that they are affordable. It's achievable.”
The technology may seem an attractive investment, given the way the Ferguson shooting has ignited a national firestorm for weeks. Such monitoring equipment not only protects citizens from aggressive or unprofessional police, but may protect officers from false reports of excessive force.
Witnesses to the Ferguson shooting have brought forth varying accounts of what actually happened on August 9th.
The account by Dorian Johnson, an accomplice to the Ferguson convenience store robbery that he and Brown carried out just prior to the shooting, was that Brown was running away when he was shot. The initial autopsy did not show that Brown was shot in the back.
A caller to Dana Loesch's show named “Josie,” who is a friend of Darren Wilson, claims that Brown “bumrushed” Wilson and “punched him in the face.” This version corroborates the police's official statement of what happened. CNN confirmed that Wilson did indeed visit the hospital and was treated for a swollen face.
CNN has been running alleged audio of the Ferguson shooting that was reportedly captured during a private chat between adults. The participants in the chat do not flinch from the supposed gunfire, which portrayed a burst of six shots followed by a pause and more gun shots.
A viral video showed one alleged witness claiming that Michael Brown was standing with his arms up when Darren Wilson fired, while another witness in the background seemed to corroborate the police's claim that Brown was advancing towards the police officer!
Enter the police bodycam. According to PolicyMic, the implementation of police bodycams in Rialto, California, led to astounding results: “Complaints against officers fell by 88% and use of force plunged by 60%.”
Over a million dollars for such equipment comes to only a fraction of a dollar for citizens of the Denver metropolitan area, but avoiding another controversy like the police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, may prove to taxpayers to be priceless.