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Police in Saratoga Springs now equipped with body cameras

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Posted at 7:40 PM, Nov 05, 2014
and last updated 2014-11-06 00:10:42-05

SARATOGA SPRINGS, Utah -- For months, Saratoga Springs police have been looking for the right body camera for their officers.

But when the city had its first officer-involved shooting in September, which killed 22-year-old Darrien Hunt, they knew they needed them.

“The shooting itself gave rise to that thought, 'Wow, this would have been something very helpful to have had' and get moving on it,” said Chief Andrew Burton of the Saratoga Springs Police Department.

The city was waiting on a grant that came in October, and now this week they have cameras for all of their sworn officers.

"It's just another resource available to us to strengthen our position in cases where we might make an arrest or in a case where we might have a use of force situation that came to scrutiny," Burton said.

For most police agencies, the cost of body cameras, ranging from $100-$1,000 each, is the biggest hurdle. But some say buying the body cams now could save taxpayers money in the long run.

"I think ultimately the expense that jurisdictions are going to have in putting body cams on their police officers will be less than what they would ultimately spend on defending their police officers’ actions or doing independent investigations," said Defense Attorney Greg Skordas.

Skordas said if Saratoga Spring officers were wearing body cams when Darrien Hunt was shot it would not change the outcome of the investigation, but it could have sped up the process.

"It's all about transparency, and people that think body cams favor police are wrong and people that think it will favor the criminals are wrong; I think it helps both sides because it's a true recording of what happened and why it happened," Skordas said.

The Utah County Attorney's Office ruled this week that the officers involved in shooting Hunt were justified, click here for details.