Aurora police say they are ahead of curve on body cam and dash cam recording rights

A package of police reform bills passed in the State Legislature this past session included one asserting the right to record police officers during traffic stops and other interactions.

AURORA |package of police reform bills passed in the State Legislature this past session included one asserting the right to record police officers during traffic stops and other interactions.

But in Aurora, where police have had a directive on the books since 2008 warning officers not to interfere when someone records them, officials aren’t anticipating much change.

Officer Ed Nolte's VIEVU camera is part of his uniform that he dons before going out on patrol, Sept. 16 at the Aurora Police Headquarters. The city’s 2015 budget calls for outfitting 440 police officers with body-worn cameras. (Marla R. Keown/Aurora Sentinel)
Officer Ed Nolte’s VIEVU camera is part of his uniform that he dons before going out on patrol, Sept. 16 at the Aurora Police Headquarters. The city’s 2015 budget calls for outfitting 440 police officers with body-worn cameras. (Marla R. Keown/Aurora Sentinel)

Deputy City Attorney Julie Heckman and Police Chief Nick Metz discussed the issue with city council’s Public Safety committee earlier this month, but Heckman said she isn’t sure Aurora will make any changes to the department’s policy in light of the new state law.

The department’s 2008 directive specifically tells officers not to interfere with anyone recording them unless the person recording them is damaging evidence.

Heckman said that on this issue, the police department’s policies were ahead of the state law.

The recently passed legislation, which the Colorado Association of Police Chiefs opposed, sets a fine of $15,000 for a municipality if an officer interferes with a person trying to record them.

Heckman said the department will continue to review the 2008 directive to see if it needs to be updated, but she doesn’t anticipate significant changes.

In Aurora, as in other cities around the country, recording police has become a common practice.

The recently passed legislation, which the Colorado Association of Police Chiefs opposed, sets a fine of $15,000 for a municipality if an officer interferes with a person trying to record them.

Last year, when Aurora police expanded their use of body cameras, the traffic enforcement officers who have been wearing the devices for months said when they make traffic stops, both officer and driver are often recoding the entire interaction.

A teenager stopped last year for openly carrying a shotgun on East Iliff Avenue recorded his encounter with police and put the video on YouTube. The seven-minute video has been viewed more than 71,000 times since.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s the group Aurora Cop Watch regularly recorded police officers during traffic stops, arrests and other police actions.

  • 2fishandhunt

    If the police are abiding with the Constitution and laws, they should have no problem. Only if they are violating someones rights or being abusive should they be concerned – and they should stop doing what they are doing!

  • Janrpoole

    ^^^^^Get It Now.u-r-o-r-a-s-n-t-i-n-e

  • Joe Hardhat

    The City of Aurora can look forward to additional legal payoffs and settlements in the years ahead, as the police body and vehicle photos will be over scutinized and over interpreted … kinda like when the attorney looks for technicalities to get his client off the hook in a DUI case.

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