The Kent Police Department announced this week that after months of extensive work to develop a Body Worn Camera program, they are ready to launch a pilot program with the deployment of 10 Axon body-worn cameras for its law enforcement staff, following the trend of agencies nationwide.
“The concept of body worn cameras for our Officers was a priority for Mayor Dana Ralph and through her commitment we have reached implementation,” said Chief Rafael Padilla. “We have shared our desire and anticipation for this program with the community and now we can put it into motion.”
Officers will attend Body Worn Camera training for the pilot program on Dec. 14, 2018, with the actual pilot program beginning Dec. 21, 2018.
Ten Police officers will be in pilot program, consisting of;
- 1 Traffic Officer
- 1 Special Operations Unit Officer
- 1 Patrol Sergeant
- 7 Patrol Officers
Police say that the Axon Body cameras were chosen for their low light HD capabilities, they capture 143 degree field of vision, have up to 70 hours of recording time, with a 12 hour battery life. The digital evidence from the cameras is tightly secured when downloaded onto an encrypted docking station and cloud on Evidence.com. All activity can be tracked by user ID and can record the date, time, and number of views, and what footage was redacted.
The Kent Police anticipate that the pilot program will show that the Body Worn Cameras will:
- Decrease use of force
- Reduce false complaints
- Improve behavior on both sides of the badge
- Enhances public trust
- Decreases litigation
- Expedite pleas and associated cost savings
I’m so glad that we’re initiating the body camera program in Kent. I hope this makes both the police officer and the citizen more aware of their responsibility to be courteous and to deescalate their attitudes and actions to prevent harm to both parties (as well as all the other benefits). We all have seen too many unnecessary deaths on TV and my thoughts have been “Please, don’t let this happen in my community of Kent!”. I have always experienced courtesy from our officers but there are times when the police officer is clearly at fault and over reacts.. I hope the Police Dept will also use this to see who needs to be weeded out, reassigned or retrained. Thanks Mayor Ralph for following through with something you said you would do in the debate when you were running for the position of Mayor!