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Chief O’Toole Statement on Body-Worn Cameras

I’m often asked, “When will body-worn video become a reality?” The community has made it abundantly clear they welcome this technology.  In a recent report filed by the Federal Monitor, Seattleites overwhelmingly want to see body cameras on officers with 89 percent in support.  A national Pew Research study found 87 percent surveyed are in favor of police wearing body cameras.

Body-worn video is incredibly important to our communities and our officers as we continue our work to enhance transparency, accountability, and public trust. It’s our moral responsibility to get to the truth; this technology will help accomplish that.

As Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch has said, “Body-worn cameras hold tremendous promise for enhancing transparency, promoting accountability, and advancing public safety for law enforcement officers and the communities they serve.”

The Seattle Police Department remains committed to body-worn cameras. As we proceed with body camera programs in Washington State it is important we strike the right balance of transparency and privacy for victims and community members in order for these programs to be successful.  We believe HB 2362 strikes this balance in the short term, while creating a longer term process for community engagement in policy development. SPD looks forward to continuing to work closely with policy makers, privacy advocates and community leaders to develop policies and practices that take into account various concerns.