Registered Agency Spotlight: Bent County Colorado Sheriff’s Office

badge.aspx_Registered Agency Spotlight: Bent County Colorado Sheriff’s Office 

Agency Donation Effort Contact: Undersheriff Frank Gallegos

Sheriff: Sheriff David Encinias

Link: Department Website

Number of Officers: 13

Body Camera Goal: 13

Click here to donate to this department

Agency Registration Statement: “Bent County is located in the lower Arkansas Valley on the East side of the State. It is a very small county with limited resources and very small budget. Bent county has also taken over the Law Enforcement duties for the city of Las Animas Colorado. Deputies calls of service has gone up and we are covering more violent calls of service. The body cameras will aide greatly in investigating the complaints by citizens” -Undersheriff Frank Gallegos

Why has your department decided to start a body camera program?
Undersheriff Gallegos: We want to use body cameras for the safety of our deputies, especially in light of everything going on in the country with so many accusations being made against officers. We had a few complaints made against our deputies and we want to be able to use body cameras as training tools to look for areas to improve, see how our deputies react to citizens and how citizens react to our deputies.

How do you believe a body camera program will benefit your officers, department and the community? 
Undersheriff Gallegos: It would help us be able to see how our deputies interact with citizens when investigating complaints.

Are there any situations where having body camera video evidence would have made a difference in court cases or complaints against your officers?
Undersheriff Gallegos: Recently we had a situation where our deputies went to serve an arrest warrant on an individual and were told that he was not home. The deputies were given permission to search the home, and found the individual inside and he ran out the back door. The deputies followed him which lead to a confrontation where the deputy needed to Tase the individual. The individual made a complaint saying the Tasing was unjustified. If we had body camera footage we would have been able to review exactly what happened and see if the Tasing was justified.

Does your department have guidelines for a body camera policy? If so, what would the policy be? When would officers be required to record, etc.?
Undersheriff Gallegos: We have a body camera policy written out but haven’t implemented it yet because we don’t have body cameras yet.