Auburn police body cam program goes into effect

The council initially approved the program last summer.

All Auburn Police Department patrol officers are now outfitted with body-worn cameras, according to the Auburn Police Department.

The department’s hope is that the body-worn cameras will increase transparency and accountability.

This comes after the Auburn City Council passed an ordinance to outfit the department with body-worn cameras in August 2021. Then in October 2021, the council approved a contract between the city and Axon, the manufacturer of Tasers and police body cameras.

In a video posted to the police department’s Facebook page on Monday, April 4, Auburn Police Commander Cristian Adams spoke briefly about the program.

“You will see our officers wearing a body camera attached to them when they are out on duty and talking to citizens or suspects,” Adams said. “The body cameras will be attached somewhere on their uniform, and will be activated when they make contact with somebody.”

At least a portion of the $2.2 million body camera program is covered by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money from the federal government. ARPA funds are intended to help cities recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigate the negative effects of the pandemic.

The resolution to enter into the contract claimed the body cameras will help police combat gun crime that has risen since the pandemic hit.

In November 2021, the council allocated $479,000 for four new full-time employees, including three records clerks and one prosecutor, who will support the body-worn camera program.

Part of the reason the Auburn City Council approved the body cameras is due to changes in state law.

In July 2021, the Washington state Legislature passed Substitute House Bill 1223, which requires police in Washington to electronically record all interrogations in which a person might incriminate themselves.

The police advisory committee can periodically provide the department with input regarding the department’s body-worn camera policy, according to the ordinance.