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  • PCC, police department collaborate on new officer safety tool

    STEM Group with Cop Cameras 2

    PUEBLO – Pueblo police officers have one more safety tool at their disposal thanks to a partnership between Pueblo Community College and the Pueblo Police Department.

    At the request of Sgt. Franklyn Ortega of the police department, students in PCC’s STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and machining technology programs created a device that will allow officers to view hidden areas without exposing themselves to potential danger. The Cop Camera, as it is officially known, was unveiled Thursday in PCC’s STEM Center. 

    One hundred camera holders were made for the department. All Pueblo police vehicles will be equipped with the device.

    Ortega, a graduate of PCC’s law enforcement academy, approached PCC officials two years ago when he had the idea for the device. Joey Mathews, director of PCC’S STEM Career and Technical Education, enlisted pre-engineering student Tom Martinez and computer science student Owen Engen to bring Ortega’s idea to life. 

    “This is a great partnership with the Pueblo Police Department and PCC to produce an officer safety device that will benefit everyone in the community,” Ortega said. “I really appreciate PCC’s assistance in making this tool available to Pueblo police officers. It will allow them to more effectively and safely observe hidden areas without putting themselves in direct danger.”

    “This was a challenging project,” said Mathews. “Students who were involved in this learned valuable skills including the engineering design process, teamwork, 3D modeling, basic electronics and communication.”

    Engen, Martinez and Ortega worked together to design a camera holder and a battery-operated light. Under the guidance of machining technology faculty member Wayne Schwarze, students Zachariah Daugherty, Stephanie Gama and Nate German helped create a high-grade aluminum plate and connector to attach the camera to a PVC pole.

    “We’re always encouraged to get involved with the community,” said Martinez. “To be able to give (back) instantaneously like this was amazing.”

    Pueblo police officers field tested the device throughout its creation, providing valuable feedback. Six generations of Cop Camera were tested before the final design was approved.

    Each was built using a high-grade 3D printer in the PCC STEM Center and each took eight hours to print. The holders are made with acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), the same plastic used to make Lego bricks.

    “There are so many safety aspects to this that we haven’t realized all of them yet,” said Pueblo Police Chief Troy Davenport. “When we can increase the safety of officers, it also increases the safety of the public.”

    The project cost approximately $5,000 and was funded with a grant from the Colorado Helps Advanced Manufacturing Program.

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    Founded in 1933, Pueblo Community College is a premier teaching institution focused on providing academic and service excellence to help its students acquire the 21st Century skills needed to better their lives. An educational and technological leader, PCC fosters economic development and utilizes strong partnerships in the communities it serves through its Pueblo, Fremont and Southwest campuses.