Body cameras ‘not crucial’ to Department of Public Safety
PHOENIX (AP) — No department video exists of the night a rookie Arizona trooper was fatally shot on the job because the Arizona Department of Public Safety doesn’t have body cameras nor are all department vehicles equipped with dash cameras.
The department has neither requested body-worn cameras for its troopers nor has it looked into how much they would cost, said Bart Graves, a spokesman for the Department of Public Safety.
“Technology enhancements such as body cameras, while being a nice-to-have, are not crucial to the department’s mission,” Graves said.
The lack of video may become significant as the court cases into the death of Tyler Edenhofer progress, the Arizona Republic reported Thursday.
Edenhofer was fatally shot July 25 during a nighttime scuffle-turned-shooting.
It was his 52nd day with the department.
After the shooting, Department of Public Safety Director Frank Milstead said the department has never found the financial support of such cameras.
An Arizona Republic reporter found that the department has never formally asked for them.
The Phoenix newspaper found that the only sort of camera expansion included in the department’s recent budget requests filed to the state was for upgrades for in-car cameras on 75 of the agency’s vehicles.
As of August, the department has 160 in-car cameras —122 in patrol vehicles and 38 in the criminal investigation division.
“It is particularly important for DPS to have working cameras in any vehicle that contains a canine, as video footage of canine-based stops are expected for the safety of both the trooper and the public,” officials wrote in a one-time funding request for 2018.
Information from: The Arizona Republic, http://www.azcentral.com