Time has come for body cameras in Westminster

Posted 6/1/21

Since Senate Bill 20-217 passed, we’ve known body cameras were coming to our community. The question has always been: when? When I recently asked the Westminster Police Department for a clear …

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Time has come for body cameras in Westminster

Posted

Since Senate Bill 20-217 passed, we’ve known body cameras were coming to our community. The question has always been: when?

When I recently asked the Westminster Police Department for a clear timeline, I was given a target date of late December. While I’m relieved to know the technology is incoming, I’m still left wondering, why not sooner? These devices provide peace of mind for our residents and can help justify an officer’s actions in the field.

I’d like to present three cases from the last few years that turned into excessive force lawsuits against the WPD. Instances that I believe highlight the need for these devices being fully implemented sooner rather than later. I recommend reading up on these cases as they’ve either cost us taxpayer money or likely will in the future.

Case 1, June 2017- Officer Roger Stockman breaks a civilian’s jaw by pistol whipping and kicking them. This case cost the city of Westminster $200,000 in a lawsuit settled just last year.

Case 2, August 2018- Officer Steven Bare shoots and kills Birendra Thakuri, a Nepalese man suffering from a mental health crisis.

Case 3, August 2018- Officers Louis Engleberg and Chris Hempelmann shoot Timmy Henley 11 times, ultimately killing him. They claimed he charged at them with a knife, which has since been disproven.

All three lawsuits criticize the lack of body cameras within the Westminster Police Department. Can we afford to wait any longer?

Austin Watts,

Westminster

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