The Portland City Council voted on Wednesday to approve up to $2.6 million for body-worn cameras from Axon to outfit the Portland Police Bureau (PPB). Commissioners called it an essential step toward accountability.
PPB recently wrapped up a two-month pilot program, with about 150 officers testing the technology. The pilot program went well, according to a report presented to city council on Wednesday. The police bureau hopes to have the cameras rolled out to most officers by next summer.Nearly 300 patrol officers will wear the cameras everyday, PPB saidadditional 500 sworn officers, from detectives to sergeants, will wear them when interacting with the public. Up until now, Portland had the largest municipal police department in the country without body cameras, KGW reports.
"It's long overdue. It is imperative in addressing police accountability," said Commissioner Rene Gonzalez. "It is imperative in mitigating our risk of sometimes unfounded claims made against Portland police."
KPTV reports the police union wanted officers to be able to view footage before reporting an incident where force was used. The city wanted a report submitted prior to the video being seen by officers.
Eventually, the two agreed on officers being able to review the footage after reporting to their supervisor and being interviewed by an internal affairs investigator, who also cannot see the footage prior to being interviewed. For cases involving death, officers cannot view the footage right away.
Oregon Public Broadcasting reports that an officer can clarify any discrepancies between their body camera footage and their initial statement after viewing the recording.
Officers who witness another officer using deadly force are allowed to view their camera’s footage before providing a statement.
Officers who use non-lethal force, like pepper spray or impact munitions, will also be required to provide an on-scene statement to a supervisor before viewing their camera footage.
The policy requires officers to turn their cameras on whenever they’re dispatched to a call. The cameras also automatically begin recording whenever officers draw their weapons or activate their vehicle’s emergency lights.