SPD to start wearing body cameras by 2015

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by SHAWN CHITNIS & KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on February 14, 2014 at 5:17 PM

Updated Monday, Feb 17 at 4:37 PM

SPOKANE, Wash. -- The City of Spokane took a huge step forward toward reforming the police department. Part of the deal is getting a body camera on every officer.

Police leaders said they expect to have those cameras on officers by the end of the year.

“This is a major initiative for 2014, we anticipate outfitting all of our officers with body cameras by the end of 2014,” said Monique Cotton of the Spokane Police Department.

More and more police departments in our area are using body cameras. They provide evidence that helps both officers and potential suspects back up their story.

The union that represents Spokane Police Department officers will vote on a new contract next week. The city has already ordered 220 body cameras. The department expects the union to agree to the use of the technology.

“They’ve been very supportive, we’ve worked hand in hand on this and they recognize it’s a priority,” said Cotton.

Leaders of the Police Guild said they are looking forward to creating the right policies to make the cameras as effective as possible. Spokane Police said it takes time for such a large department to be ready for body cameras.

Video from every officer on shift will add up to a lot data that needs to be properly stored. Police said video would need to be checked so it does not violate rights of any citizens in the background. This will require regulations before any cameras start recording.

Another goal of the department is to get new officers in the city budget hired. They hope to have 300 officers in the department by the end of 2014.

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