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Body Cameras Prompt Cops to Ask Legislature for Clarification

Straub has welcomed body cameras since he was hired, but has several concerns about their implications.
Paige Browning
Spokane Public Radio

The rollout of police body cameras in Washington has been slow, even for Spokane which purchased 220 of the devices. Before full implementation, police leaders will ask the legislature for changes. 

Spokane Police leaders tout the department’s body cameras as proof of positive change. But for now only about 30 are using them on duty. Police chief Frank Straub says police departments needs clarification on the public records process, since uploading and sorting hours and hours of police footage will be a large personnel task. He says the legislature should address it this year.

Straub: “To enact legislation that will define privacy, that will define public records requests, and so the state chiefs and sheriffs association are working with the legislators.”

Per Washington law, everything recorded on an officer’s camera is public record. Straub says the legislation they request will have to do with answering public records requests.

Before fully implementing police-worn body cameras, Straub also wants two universities to study Spokane’s trial period. He wouldn’t say which schools, but said he may be able to announce research funding in a few weeks.

Copyright 2015 Spokane Public Radio

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