Camas police will acquire body worn cameras

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Camas Police Department receives body cameras.

Officers will initially use the cameras to comply with a new state law requiring audio and visual recordings of all interrogations of minors and some adults from January 1, 2022, but Camas Police Chief Mitch Lackey, said his department had also discussed wearing the cameras full-time.

“Our Clark County District Attorney… has encouraged all law enforcement agencies to adopt body cameras for police officers to provide a higher level of transparency and to increase confidence in the forces of the law and order and criminal justice, ”Lackey told Camas city council members in October. “Although Camas police immediately need a body worn camera platform to comply with the new reform law (of the state police), it makes sense to buy the right device that will allow for a full body-worn camera program, once this is implemented at a later date.

Lackey said the city will still need to negotiate a full-time body-worn camera program with its police union and go through “several procedural steps,” but he said officers would be prepared to comply with the new law. of the State on the recording of the interrogations once the city receives its new AXON body cameras.

City council approved a five-year, $ 311,168 contract with AXON at its October 18 meeting.

The contract will equip each Camas police officer with an AXON body camera, drafting software for public document requests and data storage services, Lackey said.

The new body-worn cameras also come with Tasers – electroshock weapons used to temporarily tamper with a person – that will trigger the camera when deployed.

“The AXON body-worn cameras are the only (one) on the market that include a feature that activates the camera when the officer deploys (their Taser),” Lackey said, noting that the recording will capture video leading up to the deployment of the electroshock weapon and provide a full record of the incident.

The city police department normally spends around $ 10,000 per year on its AXON Taser program, Lackey added.

“We could reduce our budget for small tools by about $ 10,000 per year if this new deal is executed, which is a total savings of about $ 50,000 on this item,” Lackey told city council members. in October. “This means that the difference between what we are already spending and the new purchase agreement is approximately $ 261,000 over the five year period.”

The new contract will provide the Camas Police Department with 30 batches of body-worn Taser cameras. Lackey said police must have a policy and training in place for recording interrogations and storing body-worn camera data by Dec. 31 to meet the requirements of the new law. the state.

“We’re hoping to get (the new body-worn cameras) around Thanksgiving,” Lackey told council members last month. “And our IT department is already preparing for the data transfer that we will need… Then we will plan with (AXON) a training. We’re on a very tight schedule, but it looks like it’s doable. “

Lackey added that body-worn cameras will be available to officers for more than required questioning.

“They will be available all the time. Some (officers) may choose to wear them or keep them in their duty bag, ”Lackey said. “When we negotiate with the union for a full body wear program, officers would be required to wear them. ”


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