Colorado Live-Streaming Police Patrols; Wyoming Not Likely to Follow

in News/Crime

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By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily

It could certainly make for entertaining viewing, but don’t expect Wyoming law enforcement to live stream any of its patrols.  In the Cowboy State, it’s illegal.

Not so in Colorado where it’s more “anything goes” — in more ways than one.

One Adams County Sheriff has decided to live stream his patrol movements every Saturday night. He launched the program the beginning of the year and has provided live video coverage ever since.

“Jump in the back seat, grab your Pepsi, grab your popcorn, don’t make a mess and come see what we do from the front seat of the sheriff’s car,” Sheriff Rick Reigenborn told FOX 31 in Denver.

This past weekend was particularly interesting as the sheriff got involved in a high-speed chase and Facebook viewers — thousands of them — had front row seats.

Not only could viewers watch the chase but Reigenborn provided a play-by-play account as the chase developed.

“Buckle up and let’s go,” the sheriff said when joining the chase.

As the suspect drove into oncoming traffic, the sheriff calmly explained what the driver was doing.

“Unfortunately that’s one of their tactics, “ Reigenborn said. “They’ll drive on the wrong side of the road so we won’t pursue them.”

The tactic failed as Reigenborn not only boxed the other car in, but jumped out of his vehicle and tackled the suspect.

“I actually caught the guy,” he said.  “It was fun. It was fun because I caught a guy younger than me.”

The sheriff said the live video promotes transparency.

Former Cheyenne Police Chief Brian Kozak disagreed.

Kozak helped develop legislation that would make live streaming of patrols illegal in Wyoming.

“I helped to create the state law that balanced citizen privacy rights with transparency,” Kozak said.  “Police can only release video in a deadly use of force or complaint against service.”

Kozak’s concern is a live video show of police work would “Hollywood-ize” law enforcement — something with which he has experience.

“I worked in Mesa when COPs was on location,” he said of the long-running TV show.  “I believe it causes officers to escalate (situations) to make TV more interesting.”

Rock Springs Police Chief Dwane Pacheco echoed Kozak’s thoughts.

“It somewhat feels like a publicity stunt,” Pacheco said. “It might make for some fun and yuk-yuk but our jobs are too serious for that, in my opinion.”

“Watching this video, if that vehicle theft suspect wraps that car around the pole and you find out that’s a 13-year-old that took grandma’s car, how’s that going to look, how’s that going to end? Not well. I’m not in favor of this.”

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