A new report from Seattle’s federally appointed police monitor recommends that every police officer in the city should be wearing a body camera.
“The time for permanent use of on-officer cameras by all SPD officers is now,” monitor Merrick Bobb said in the report.
Seattle has been using a small number of body cameras since December as part of a pilot program, with devices from Taser and Seattle-based Vievu being turned on during certain police activity. However, the monitor’s report urges the Seattle Police Department to quickly implement the system across the police force. The pilot program will end in the middle of July.
Bobb didn’t want the body camera’s implementation to be bogged down by bureaucratic red tape.
“The possibility of … future adjustments [to rules surrounding the body cameras] should not deprive Seattle’s diverse communities, the Department, and its officers from the demonstrated benefits with respect to accountability and transparency associated with body camera technology,” he wrote.
The city is already preparing for bids that would provide a longterm camera contract.
The report also criticized the Seattle Police Department’s use of force. While police officers’ use of force has declined, that downward trend has slowed in recent months. It wasn’t all bad news for the SPD though, as training and de-escalation efforts show improvement.