The Redmond Police Department is now fully equipped with body-worn cameras and in-car cameras for all marked patrol vehicles.
Additionally, the department says each officer has completed more than four hours of hands-on and classroom training prior to operating the camera systems in the community.
In June 2021, Police Chief Darrell Lowe recommended the City Council allocate funding for the body-worn camera program. The budget of $935,000 includes funding to cover the ongoing needs for staffing, training, technology services, records management, public disclosure, and court case preparation. RPD also applied for and received a $170,000 grant from the Department of Justice.
“Body-worn and in-car cameras are a significant step forward for greater transparency and accountability that will increase public trust during interactions with our officers,” said Police Chief Lowe. “The cameras also provide officers’ perspectives on calls for service and provide for quicker and unbiased resolution to potential community member concerns.”
It is believed that the use of cameras will increase public confidence in policing, deter criminal activity, help de-escalate confrontational situations, and provide additional skill development and training through incident review. It is also believed that they will help with evidence collection and allow for more accurate police reports.
According to the department, the ability to review an incident can decrease the amount of time staff spends conducting investigations and potentially avoid unnecessary costs associated with litigation.
Uniformed officers who regularly interact with members of the community are required to wear and operate body-worn cameras. Body-worn cameras will be activated on calls for service and activities including traffic stops, vehicle pursuits, suspicious vehicles and suspicious persons responses, arrests, vehicle searches, domestic violence, use of force, verbal confrontations, DUI investigations, crimes in progress, offenses involving weapons, mental health contacts, and welfare checks.
The department says sworn personnel will remain sensitive to the dignity of all individuals being recorded and exercise sound discretion to respect privacy by discontinuing recording whenever it reasonably appears that such privacy may outweigh any legitimate law enforcement interest in recording.
If a person objects to being recorded, the officer may elect to record the encounter despite the objection. Since conversations with police officers are not considered private under Washington law, there is no requirement that an officer turns off the camera for someone who objects to having the interaction recorded.
All recordings will be retained for a period consistent with the requirements of Washington state’s records retention schedule, which is generally 90 days.