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Lakewood Police: When we wear body cams, you are much nicer to us

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LAKEWOOD, Wash --  Saying the public is a lot nicer to them when new body mounted cameras are turned on, Lakewood Police say early results of a pilot program are promising.

They’re the latest local department to consider outfitting officers with cameras, joining Bremerton, Poulsbo and Seattle police departments in testing them.

Lakewood Officer Andy Hall is one of the three  members of patrol who used them over the last month.

'It seems like I got yelled at or cursed at on a daily basis but as soon as I let them know they were being audio and video recorded they kind of tone down,” said Officer Hall.

It wasn’t just citizens who changed their behavior, he found himself moving to position the camera instead of focusing on his own safety, something he feels can be addressed with additional training.

Taser International makes two different kinds of cameras.  One can be worn on the front of the uniform or the lapel.  The other is called the Axon flex and can attach to safety glasses or a helmet using a magnet.

At the end of the day, officers upload the videos into the system.  In just 30 days, the three who tested the cameras recorded more than 300 videos.

"I am definitely leaning towards it and I would like to work it out so that we would have that tool available to the officers,” said Lakewood Police Chief Bret Farrar who is preparing a presentation for the Lakewood City Council.

He is aware of the cameras limitations but believes they are the future. He points to the now famous touchdown catch by the Seahawks Golden Tate to win the Packers game as an example.

"They have high dollar cameras, they have 5 or 6 of them and you still can't really tell what happened in the play. and there's that concern, it gives you one particular angle but it may not be the be all end all of what transpired in that particular incident,” said Chief Farrar.

Taser is debuting new technology in January to make it easier for officers to record video during emergency responses.

"It will enable your camera to automatically turn on once your light bar is activated and will also allow other cameras around you that are in range to turn on as well when you are approaching a scene,"  said Sydney Siegmeth with Taser.

Lt. Chris Lawler who heads up the patrol division says he likes the way the department is approaching the controversial decision.

"We've looked at what some of the other departments are running into as far as public disclosure request, the privacy issues and things so I think we go through this kind of slow and deliberate and decide is this gonna be a good fit for Lakewood PD.” said Lt. Lawler.

A decision on whether to purchase the cameras could come before the end of the year.

 

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7 comments

  • dink

    we are nicer because that camera makes you actualy do your job it has nothing to do with us being nice for the camera it has everything to do with how the camera has made you change your act not ours.

  • Justin Thyme

    I agree with Dink. Most times, cops have an aggressive attitude and curse/swear too. It goes both ways. Too bad the Lakewood cop who stole money from the fallen officers fund wasn’t wearing one. oh well, he got caught anyway.

  • BD4

    Apparently reading comprehension is not a strong suit for either of you. “but as soon as I let them know they were being audio and video recorded they kind of tone down”. The officer was being cursed at and he let them know they are being recorded, THEN the people toned down. Had very little to do with the officer. But cop haters always gotta be hating huh?

    • Stan

      Yes they are. It’s because they’re morons. They’ll demand cameras if the cops don’t have them, or bitch about it if they do
      .

  • Bob peel

    The problem is we have a bunch of spoiled brats in the world today who hate all types of authority and love trends. If it’s a trend to hate cops, then they hate cops. These kids today are completely insane, entitled and disrespectful. Like these morons Dink and Dumb. Cops are aggressive “most times?” Hey, Thume. Do you realize that most law abiding citizens have little to no contact with police to find out what they are like? I haven’t spoken to a cop in 5 years. The last time was when I got pulled over for speeding. Guess what? He have me a warning and said have a nice day. Probably because I was polite and had a valid registration, no warrants and car insurance.