May 18 2011
In July of 2010, way before the tragic death of woodcarver John T. Williams, I proposed the requirement that our Seattle Police Officers wear body-mounted video cameras. Recently, the city of Oakland deployed body cameras on all of their officers. I met with Oakland’s Chief of Police Anthony Batts the week before their department went live with cameras and we reviewed film footage taken from their initial trial. Chief Batts was excited about how these cameras were going to improve their ability to learn from field events and gain strides in public trust. I also met with San Jose’s Chief Chris Moore who has similarly deployed this technology. His enthusiasm was also clear. My research has determined that least 700 departments nationwide are employing this technology and 10 jurisdictions in our state, including police departments in Bainbridge Island, Lake Forest Park, Black Diamond and Orting.
Our support for this technology is also coming from the ground up; in grassroots organizations concerned with the rights of the underserved. I spoke at the 36th Legislative District Democrats and they passed a resolution supporting my proposal. Also, the 11th Legislative District followed suit with their resolution that supported my proposal. More resolutions should be forthcoming.
I am urging Mayor McGinn to include body cameras in the negotiations of the new Seattle Police Officers Guild (SPOG) contract. During the 2011-2012 budget process, I asked the Police Department to provide a written report detailing the trial use of body cameras and to pursue federal grant money to fund a pilot project to better understand the technology. The Council requests written reports of these measures. Both reports are due to the Council in June, 2011. I suggest you let my colleagues on the Council know whether you support this game-changing effort in the world of technology and public safety. Seattle should not be the last to embrace these progressive efforts. I am sure they would love to hear from you. Here are their addresses:
Comments Off on My Push for Body Cameras: Latest Update