Auburn police officers will get body cameras

The ordinance is supposed to create a more transparent, accountable police force.

The Auburn City Council unanimously approved an ordinance to outfit Auburn police officers with body cameras during its meeting on Aug. 2.

The ordinance authorizes the police department to enter into competitive negotiations with body camera suppliers. In a previous council study session, representatives from body camera and Taser manufacturer Axon presented the council with their latest camera technology.

The passing of this ordinance follows a state law that was passed this spring, which requires police across Washington to electronically record most interrogations with people suspected of a crime.

Councilmember James Jeyaraj, who made the motion to vote on the ordinance, summed up the ordinance prior to the vote.

“This ordinance will authorize the city of Auburn Police Department to pursue purchasing body cameras and the development of body-worn camera policies in consultation with the police advisory committee,” Jeyaraj said. “The Auburn Police Department has presented the body camera options to the council and has identified the operational needs to use body cameras.”

The stated purpose of the ordinance is to enhance the transparency and accountability of the Auburn Police Department. The citizen-led Police Advisory Committee will periodically recommend policy governing the use of the cameras.

Cities including Tacoma, Federal Way and Seattle already require the use of body cameras by police officers.

A Campbell Systematic Reviews study on the effectiveness of body cameras showed that both police and the public generally support the use of body cameras by police officers. Police believe the cameras will protect them from the public and vice versa, according to the study. Body cameras didn’t have a measurable impact on the behavior of police or the public, according to the study. However, there was a correlation between use of body cameras and a reduction in complaints against police.