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Weld County deputies save man from overdose, call captured on bodycam

Posted on 08/21/2020

A Weld County man suffering last week from a drug overdose is alive thanks to two deputies who responded to the family’s 911 call for help.

At 7:58 p.m. last Tuesday Aug. 11, deputies Peter Steeves and Allison Engelhart responded to a home in rural Weld County about 12 miles southeast of Greeley on a report of a man who was unconscious and not breathing. Steeves and Engelhart arrived at the home about 11 minutes later to find the man lying in his bed. 

The man didn’t rouse to the deputies entering the room and remained unresponsive as Engelhart delivered sternum rubs. The man’s pupils were constricted, his breathing was labored, and he was snorting, which are all signs of respiratory distress due to a drug overdose.

Steeves reached into his ankle holster to retrieve a dose of naloxone, better known as Narcan Nasal Spray, which can be used to treat symptoms of a drug overdose. Steeves administered the Narcan to the man’s left nostril, pushed him up onto his side and then radioed to dispatch that it was safe for fire and medical to enter the scene. The man regained consciousness and was taken by ambulance to the hospital.

The life-saving actions taken by Steeves and Engelhart were the first captured on a body camera issued by the Weld County Sheriff’s Office. The sheriff’s office completed last Monday Aug. 10 the rollout of its bodycam program, equipping 80 deputies with the technology. All patrol deputies with a rank of sergeant and below have been issued a bodycam.

The sheriff’s office first began exploring bodycams in 2014 under former Sheriff John Cooke.The initiative was picked up and pushed forward in 2016 by Sheriff Steve Reams.                     

Last year, the sheriff’s office conducted field testing with three well-known bodycam manufacturers. The sheriff’s office chose BodyWorn by Utility Inc., agreeing to a five-year, $459,000 contract.

The sheriff’s office also received funding for one full-time employee to manage video and storage. The body camera program has a total year one cost of $191,000. The cost increases to $247,000 next year. As part of the terms with Utility, the sheriff’s office will receive all new hardware in year three of the contract at no additional cost.

The sheriff’s office went with BodyWorn because of what Utility Inc. refers to as “policy-based automatic recording.” Equipped with a variety of sensors, the BodyWorn camera will begin recording automatically under certain scenarios. For the sheriff’s office, those features include:

  • Automated activation through CAD: The BodyWorn camera will begin recording when a deputy is assigned to a call.

  • Smart holster sensor: The camera will begin recording when a deputy draws their weapon.

  • BodyWorn down: The camera will begin recording and send an alert to other officers should a deputy become prone in the field.

  • Vehicle sensors: The camera will begin recording whenever a deputy activates their emergency lights.

  • Built-in accelerometer: The camera will begin recording when a deputy becomes involved in a vehicle or foot pursuit.

  • Action zones: The camera will begin recording when a deputy is within a quarter mile of the location of an assigned call.

Utility Inc.’s technology also features a device called the RocketIoT, which is installed in a deputy’s vehicle and automatically downloads bodycam video for temporary storage. The footage is later automatically uploaded to the Cloud whenever a deputy is at the Weld County Sheriff’s Office Administration Building in Greeley or at either of the two substations located in Fort Lupton and Del Camino.

Automatic uploads to the Cloud means the BodyWorn camera doesn’t need to be placed in a centrally located docking station in order to download content. The sheriff’s office has unlimited Cloud storage through its contract with Utility.

Uniforms were modified before the start of the bodycam program. The BodyWorn camera is mounted inside a deputy’s uniform to prevent it from falling off during a call.

Click here to download the bodycam video from last week’s call.