BOZEMAN — It’s been one year since the Bozeman Police Department started using body camera technology. Although it’s still relatively new to them, they say it’s become a powerful tool.
“I think some of the events of the last few years certainly caused us to implement these cameras faster,” said Chief Jim Veltkamp.
Body cameras are charging up at the Public Safety Center. They may be small, but Chief Veltkamp says they serve a big purpose.
"Juries and judges want to see better evidence,“ said Veltkamp. “We want to be able to determine exactly what’s occurring in an interaction. For transparency, it’s just best to have cameras documenting any interaction that occurs.”
In less than nine months, Bozeman PD took almost 140,000 individual videos—innovative, but expensive technology.
“I believe these body cameras are around $1,000,” said Veltkamp.
And they have 85 of them.
On Oct. 3, Veltkamp gave a special presentation at the Bozeman City Commission meeting explaining what the cameras do, where the technology is headed, and why they’re an important investment.
“The goal with us using technology is to not go so overboard that it costs us way too much money, or not a good use of taxpayer money,” said Veltkamp. "We’re always thinking of appropriate technology that helps us investigate cases better.”
And even provide peace of mind to the public when they see those flashing lights.
“There are times when you hear about a good deed that’s happened,” said Veltkamp. “But when you actually see that body cam footage, it really helps us identify the positives, the good work the officers are doing and build on it.”