In anticipation of the U.S. Department of Justice forcing the city’s hand, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler is directing the police bureau to prepare for a body-worn camera program.
“I am not alone in supporting police body-worn cameras,” Wheeler said in a statement Tuesday. “At least 75 other large government agencies use body worn cameras for policing. As you might have read in the media, the U.S. Department of Justice has asked the City to adopt a body worn camera program as a remedy in order to achieve substantial compliance under our settlement agreement.”
The Justice Department is urging the city to adopt body cameras and other accountability measures to bring the city back into compliance with the 2014 settlement agreement.
Wheeler said he directed the police bureau to begin researching the different camera systems available, seek bids from companies, and research federal grant money that might be available to help with the approximately $1 million tab to get the program started and estimated $1.5 million annual cost to maintain it, Oregon Public Broadcasting reports.
Portland is the largest city in the U.S. that doesn’t have officers wear body cameras. The bureau nearly launched a pilot program last year, but it was put on hold because of pandemic-related budget cuts.