The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday it had launched a testing program to equip selected sheriff’s office assistants with body-worn cameras.
In the initial testing program, 12 body-worn cameras will be deployed to assistants in the sheriff’s office. The initial testing program consists of three different body camera vendors who will each provide four test cameras to the sheriff’s office. The cameras will each be tested for a period of six weeks and will be worn by deputies from the Violent Offender Working Group of the Sheriff’s Office, Patrol Division and Engine Unit.
“I am a strong supporter and advocate of body-worn cameras for our MPs,” said Sheriff Adam Fortney. “Body cameras will provide additional transparency, help build community confidence and also provide an extra layer of protection for the men and women who patrol and serve our community on a daily basis. Our office has prioritized funding body cameras for each deputy sheriff as the top request in our 2022 budget and we hope to have them for all of our deputies next year. “
“Body cameras are good for our law enforcement officers and good for our community,” said Dave Somers, Director of Snohomish County. “While not always perfect recordings of often chaotic events, the cameras provide more objective documentation of encounters between law enforcement officers and members of the public. As we have seen nationally, body-worn camera images are essential for transparency and accountability. We know that law enforcement cannot be successful in keeping the peace if our community does not trust their actions. The cameras will help build and maintain trust, ensuring that there are recordings when matches are contested. This is an important step to better serve everyone in our community.
Noting that “the safety of our community has always been the county’s top priority,” Snohomish County Council Chairman Stephanie Wright said the use of body cameras “will help provide crucial information to ensure accountability. when interactions are in dispute. This is an important step forward in maintaining trust within our entire community, and I fully support the provision of body cameras to assistants in the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office Said Wright, who represents the towns of Edmonds, Woodway and Lynnwood on the board.
“We want to support our MPs and the members of the public who interact with them, and body cameras are a great way to reduce ambiguity and provide a reliable record,” said Jared Mead, member of the Snohomish County Council, which represents the towns of Mountlake Terrace and Ronce. “We will continue to find ways to improve our law and our justice system for the benefit of all in our community.”
Throughout the testing program, the Sheriff’s Office will familiarize staff with the hardware, software, and various features of each vendor to help determine a list of requirements that will be used to select an end vendor during the testing phase. purchase.
Executive Dave Somers, working with County Council, has pledged to expand the program until every MP has a body camera. While the cameras themselves are relatively inexpensive, maintaining and managing public records is a significant ongoing cost.
If the sheriff’s office receives full funding to equip each deputy sheriff with a body-worn camera, purchasing will begin next year and the rollout of cameras and software to all areas of the sheriff’s office is expected to take at least 12 months.
Locally, the Edmonds Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace Police Department do not yet have body cameras in place. Edmonds Police spokesperson Acting Deputy Chief Josh McClure said the department “is in the process of launching a testing program,” with a proposal for the effort to be included in the 2022 budget of the department. Lynnwood Police, meanwhile, have supplies on order. And the town of Mountlake Terrace has discussed the idea on several occasions, but there are “no firm plans yet” to be implemented, Police Chief Pete Caw said.