Council member mulls cameras on all SPD cops

Council member mulls cameras on all SPD cops
Photo: Flickr user zeraien (CC License)
SEATTLE -- Will all Seattle police officers someday be wearing a video camera?

The idea was proposed by Seattle City Council member Bruce Harrell, who says that head or body-mounted video cameras could provide additional perspective of events.

"According to some police departments, body-mounted cameras should be the way of the future," Harrell said in a statement. "Recent incidents have shown us that video is a powerful tool that can be used to the benefit of both citizens and officers."

For example, Harell says recent pilot programs in the UK showed footage recorded by officers was useful in public disorder cases, adding people who might normally dispute their charge reconsidered after viewing results of their behavior.

A similar test program is under way in San Jose, Calif., where 18 officers are using the technology.

Seattle police already have video cameras in their vehicles and that technology helped gather crucial information into the shooting death of Seattle Police Officer Timothy Brenton last Halloween.

A special meeting has been scheduled for Wed., July 7 from noon to 1 p.m. in the council chambers at Seattle's City Hall. The meeting will include a demonstration of the latest on-person video camera technologies and the public is welcome to attend. The committee will also discuss the costs and benefits and the possibility of moving forward with the initiative.

Harrell says they will go over how implementing this technology might change officers' working conditions and how they would use and archive camera footage.

"But those issues should be defined and addressed in conjunction with identifying the right technology or products," Harrell said.