This month, the Everett Police Department will start a six month pilot program for Body Worn Cameras. The devices are typically mounted on the chest or glasses of an officer, and at the heart of the matter, are meant to bring transparency to the actions of officers.
From the City of Everett: “The pilot includes 10 body cameras and department expects to study the cameras for six months to allow the police department to evaluate the benefits of the technology and better calculate the expenses associated with them. In addition to the benefits and cost of the technology, the pilot will consider whether additional staff may be needed to manage the program, review videos and redact information when there are public disclosure requests.”
“The pilot program will give us a better sense of what type of funding would be necessary if the decision is made to move forward with a department-wide deployment at some point,” said Chief Dan Templeman. “Across the nation, police body-camera programs have been shown to improve public trust and transparency, increase civility during encounters between officers and community members, corroborate evidence, and provide training opportunities.”
Per the National Institute of Justice, the cameras bring a myriad of options to the table. Besides transparency, the Institute cites increased civility, the concept that citizen compliance is increased and less complaints lodged against law enforcement once the additional level of surveillance is disclosed. Quicker resolution is noted as well, as a nod to faster resolution to citizen complaints and lawsuits pertaining to excessive force. The body worn cameras can also supply additional evidence to ongoing investigations and be a rich source for training materials.
Based off of the outcome of the program, the City is considering adding cameras to all uniformed officer with cameras, and has currently allotted $400k for the implementation of the program in the 2020 budget.
As it sets now, the PD is going about searching for grants to obviate the cost to the city.
“While the cost of these cameras is high, we believe that the benefit of transparency and mitigation of injuries and liability make the expenses worth the investment,” said Chief Templeman, in a press release dated from earlier in the month.
“The Chief’s Community Advisory Board, made up of a diverse group of community members that live or work in Everett, recently reviewed this project and were given an opportunity to provide feedback. All members present supported the use of body worn cameras and endorsed moving forward with the pilot program.”