The Marysville Police Department has begun a pilot program for body cameras to see how they could be implemented by local officers.
The program began the week of Sept. 26 and is expected to run between 60 to 90 days. They have 10 cameras which are each spending time with a variety of officers.
The city currently doesn’t have dash cams on their cars so the cameras would be the first recording program for the department.
“We’ll be rotating them among our offices to get them on as many people as possible,” said Jim Lawless, assistant chief with the Marysville Police Department.
Marysville police officials have wanted to bring body cameras to the department for a few years.
“It’s not only Marysville, but a lot of departments around the country are looking at body cameras,” said Lawless.
The primary benefit of the cameras is to increase transparency with police interactions, he said.
“It helps to show our interactions between the public and police and gives you an unfiltered view from either side,” added Lawless.
The cameras are “meant to protect both the public and the police officers,” he said.
The program could also help the department with recent police reforms passed by the Washington state legislature which requires video and audio recording when taking statements.
That requirement would be simpler to meet with body cameras, said Lawless.
“So far it has been going great,” he said. “We have received nothing but positive feedback from both the public and the police officers."
The pilot program is meant to assess how the Marysville Police Department would work with the city’s IT department and the prosecutor’s office to make the body camera program work.
“Mostly, we will be looking at the work flow process,” said Lawless.
Marysville police officials have hoped to bring body cameras to the department for a while.
“There have been various obstacles for that, such as budgetary or disclosure issues,” said Lawless. “We recently took another look at it and put together a plan to start a pilot program for body cameras."
The funding for the pilot program came from the body camera vendor.
“They provide the equipment free for the trial program,” said Lawless.
If the Marysville Police Department wants to move forward after the trial, the program would need further funding.
“We’re seeking some grant opportunities,” said Lawless, although he added that even if those grants are received, some funding from Marysville’s budget would still probably be needed.
“We’ll likely request some funding from the [Marysville City] Council,” said Lawless. “We are hoping to outfit every one of our commissioned police officers and our custody officers."