As a dozen Seattle PD officers have started wearing body cameras in a pilot project to record interactions with the public, the department has taken a vastly different approach under new Chief Kathleen O'Toole. It's voluntarily putting blurry, silent versions of the videos on YouTube, giving the curious a chance to see what they entail while also protecting the privacy of those depicted, reports the Associated Press.
"It's the way the chief wants us to do business," says Mike Wagers, the department's chief operating officer. "It's her way of thinking: Transparency equals an increase in public trust."
The idea for the Seattle Police Department's YouTube channel developed from a "hackathon" the department held late last year. Tim Clemans withdrew his requests to release video after the department invited him and others to help come up with a better way to handle videos. Clemans said it took him an hour or two to figure out how to apply code that would blur them — essentially "over-redacting" the videos.
The department is still working with Clemans, as well as Amazon Web Services and others, to improve the software. The department has promised to make it available to other police departments for free, Wagers said. The chief also last week hired an Amazon executive, Greg Russell, to serve as the department's chief information officer.