Bremerton testing plan to put cameras on cops

Bremerton testing plan to put cameras on cops »Play Video
BREMERTON, Wash. -- Bremerton is the latest Washington city to consider outfitting is officers with body worn cameras.

Police chief Steve Strachan says the department will receive two of Axom Body cameras made by Taser International for a summerlong trial.

If deemed successful by the Bremerton City Council, Strachan will ask the city to by 60 for his uniformed officers. Each camera can cost between $300 and $500, depending on the accessories and cloud-based data storage.

"There's good strong support and research that shows it will make the public safer and officers safer so we should be paying allot to this," Strachan said.

He believes it will provide better protection for both his officers and the public in general.

"You can make the argument that officers behave differently, but people who they come in contact with also act differently when they know when there's video evidence of what they are doing," he said.

The cameras can record an entire 8-hour shift if the officer decides to leave in on the entire time. Officers must let people they come in contact with know that they are being recorded. Policies regarding when an officer can turn it on or off, and what to do if a person refuses to be video have not been established.

"We haven't had those policies its exactly what we are developing now," Strachan said.

Poulsbo has outfitted its 14 officers since November with the same Axom Body cameras.

"The number of complaints on officers is down, the evidence from the prosecutor is up, (and there is) better quality evidence, but I think the officers are excited about using them because it protects them as well," said Poulsbo Police Chief Al Townsend.

Sargent Andy Pate says his staff is still working out some technical bugs but so far has only positive reviews. He admits that when he turns his camera on, he acts differently.

"I thinks its part of human nature when you know you are being recorded," Pate said. " I've witness that out in the field, people act differently when they know they've being recorded."