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Denver Police could expand use of body cameras on officers

DENVER — The Denver Police Department could make a decision Wednesday whether officers will begin wearing body cameras on their uniforms.

A pilot program has been in place for the past six months in which about two dozen officers have worn the body cameras. On Wednesday afternoon, Chief Robert White will reveal results of the program.

The body camera gives officers the ability to record their interactions with the public. The case supporters make it simple. Police and suspects are less likely to misbehave if they know they’re being recorded because the video could be used in court cases.

After the incident in Ferguson, Mo., groups such as the ACLU are prompting calls for more officers to wear body cameras, adding a new level of accountability to police work.

Sen. Clair McCaskill, D-Mo., believes police are at a disadvantage because anybody with a cellphone can take video of a police encounter and post only a part of it online, giving the impression an officer overreacted when they haven’t.

“We need to impact police officers all over the country,” McCaskill said. “One of my ideas that I am hopeful I will get the Senate to embrace and ultimately become law, it seems to me that before we give federal funds to police departments, we ought to mandate that they have body cams.”

In a yearlong study in Rialto, Calif., the police department saw an 89 percent decline in the number of complaints against officers. After the study, the body cameras became mandatory.