Every Sheriff’s Deputy in Spokane County will soon have a body worn camera, a purchase law enforcement and public officials say will make policing more transparent.
On Tuesday Spokane Valley City Council unanimously voted to divide the cost of purchasing body worn cameras with the county. That vote means the Sheriff’s Office has the funds to equip every deputy with a camera by the end of this year.
“This is a tool that will serve as good insurance for our office, to be able to protect them and highlight the good work that they’re doing.”
That’s Dave Ellis, the chief of the Spokane Valley Police Department and an undersheriff for Spokane County. The Sheriff Office provides policing services to the Spokane Valley, and many of the smaller towns across the county.
He said the cameras could protect deputies from false complaints, and provide more transparency for the community.
Spokane Valley City Council member Tim Hattenburg said he believes the cameras could make both the public, and officers safer and provide the community a tool to see what officers see.
“I think it’s going to be a great educational tool, and a very positive one,” he said.
The body cameras will have a live streaming ability and the county plans to add a few employees to manage public records request they may generate. The upfront cost for the region is about $1 million and Spokane County and Spokane Valley will spend several hundred thousand a year on the equipment.