Police departments around the country and here in Washington State are experimenting with officer-worn digital cameras, commonly referred to as body cameras. King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove introduced legislation this week calling for a pilot project in the King County Sheriff’s Office.
“The data is clear: body cameras are highly effective in both reducing complaints against officers and reducing instances of inappropriate use of force by officers,” Upthegrove said. “I am confident that once fully implemented body cameras will help to build more trust between officers and the communities they are sworn to protect.”
Upthegrove’s legislation also sets up a task force to develop county policies to address a wide variety of concerns including individual privacy and public disclosure issues.
“Body cameras are a great idea but it is extremely important that we also protect the privacy of victims, children and other innocent bystanders. We will work through all of these issues before deputies are wearing cameras on patrol,” Upthegrove said.
Sheriff John Urquhart expressed his support for body cameras: “Maintaining the trust of the community is my number one priority, and the implementation of body cameras for my deputies will help to ensure that. I look forward to working with Councilmember Upthegrove to responsibly implement this new program.”
The legislation is expected to be referred to the Law, Justice, Health and Human Services committee on Monday.
Read more about this legislation on the King County Council’s LEGISEARCH system at http://mkcclegisearch.kingcounty.gov and type in 2014-0389.
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