Bayfield police getting new bodycams

BY MATT HOLLINSHEAD | The Durango Herald

The Bayfield Police Department is getting new body camera equipment for its eight officers. (Stock photo courtesy of Utility, Inc.)

The Bayfield Police Department will soon be using new body camera technology that will help improve officer safety when they head out to calls.

“A lot of times, we just have one officer on (calls), and backup is a good 20, 30 minutes away,” said Bayfield Police Chief Michael Hoguet.

The new technology, which the town of Bayfield budgeted $129,000 for, will feature live feeds of what is happening on scene. Police dispatch will be able see the live feed if officers request it.

“I can go live view here at my desk to watch or (watch) at home,” Hoguet said. “I’ll be able to monitor if one of my officers is having an issue. I’ll get an alert, other officers will also get alerts if something goes on with the body-worn camera system. That live feed will allow us to have another set of eyes and ears on the scene prior to cover (backup) officers getting there.”

Hoguet said the department’s previous set of bodycam equipment is outdated, adding the new technology will allow officers to download and secure captured footage easier and send redacted footage to court. All eight Bayfield police officers will receive the new equipment.

After researching several different brand names, Bayfield police went with an equipment provider called Utility.

In the event Bayfield officers get into a foot pursuit or if they use a taser or firearm, the sensors will automatically activate the new bodycams. However, officers would still be asked based on department policy to go live and relay information to other officers when there’s a radio transmission for a call.

“All of our body-worn cameras are going to be in-sync with our in-car camera system. Everybody’s going to be able to talk to each other, and we’ll also have other sensors so that they activate without us forgetting,” Hoguet said.

The equipment will also allow Bayfield police to send backup officers sooner and help them better assess calls while en route.

The department already has the new body cameras and will install them within the next two weeks. Officers will also undergo training with the new equipment March 12-13, according to Hoguet.

“The process has taken well over a year for us to get to this point,” he said, adding that the budgeting, research and bidding process took time.

The body camera technology will mirror what Durango police and the La Plata County Sheriff’s Office already have in place.

The new body cameras also help Bayfield police comply with Colorado Senate Bill 20-217, also known as the Police Integrity Transparency and Accountability Act, which was signed into state law in June 2020. A provision requiring all state police departments and Colorado State Patrol provide body cameras to officer went into effect on July 1, 2023.

SOURCE: The Durango Herald

About Utility, Inc.

Utility provides a universe of intuitive products for effectively capturing, managing, and releasing video evidence. Technologies include a variety of cameras, sensors, and devices, as well as situational awareness software solutions for law enforcement, first responders, campus security, transportation agencies, and utility providers.

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