Statement on Body Worn Cameras
Sponsored by: Board of Commissioners
Additional community engagement sought on spending for body worn camera program
In light of ongoing nationwide concerns about police use of force and the Board of Commissioners’ commitment to support the professionalism, accountability and transparency of our local public safety system, Chair Harrington brought forward a proposal last week for the full Board to consider an allocation, as an amendment to the proposed budget, to fully fund body worn cameras for the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.
After several days of conversations with community organizations representing a broad spectrum of residents, the Chair presented—and the full Board voted in support of—a motion to appropriate the dollars, with authorization to spend after the Board has had the opportunity of engaging with historically disadvantaged groups on body worn camera use.
The Board expressed a desire to hear from communities of color and members of historically marginalized groups between now and September to allow an opportunity for deeper community conversations about the Body Worn Camera Program. Planning is currently underway to organize these community engagement sessions with more information to follow.
According to Chair Harrington, “I’m grateful for the Board's decision to fund this program which will allow the Sheriff’s Office Patrol Division to fully implement the use of body worn cameras. I’m also thankful that the Board is in agreement that we take this time to engage our community about body worn cameras before moving forward.”
Four years ago, the Sheriff’s Office began carefully researching, planning and training for body worn camera deployment and continues to phase them in for patrol deputies as resources, including grant funds, become available.
For additional information about the 2020-21 County budget, please visit the Finance Division website. For information regarding the Body Worn Camera Program, please contact the Washington County Sheriff’s Office at 503-209-5613.
Media Contact:Philip Bransford, Communications Officer