Body Cameras The New Accessory for Yakima Deputies
Body cameras are common for police officers and sheriff's deputies all around the country and they're now in use by Yakima County Sheriff's Deputies. Deputies spent weeks in training on the new cameras that give supervisors and prosecutors valuable evidence in criminal cases. 60 of the Axon body cameras are now in use by Deputies. Deputies will soon also be using dashboard cameras as well.
The cameras are vital for evidence that could protect the officers
The cameras save officers from being accused of actions they may not have taken in an arrest or other incident. While body cams haven't been used yet in the city Yakima Police have used in car dash cameras for years. Capt. Jay Seely says they've talked about purchasing body cameras for years but each time the city has determined the cost is prohibitive. However he says he thinks there's a possibility the state may soon require them for police agencies.
Cities say it's an expensive system
What's been preventing the use of body cameras in Yakima County? Mainly the cost. Especially the cost on the back end as police refer to the system. Authorities say it's expensive to maintain the equipment and the record keeping that goes along with collecting all that video because of the state's open public records act. A state grant for $1 million dollars is helping to fund the new cameras for Deputies but more money will be needed to maintain the system.
We'll be talking to the Sheriff on Friday
Don't miss our conversation with Yakima County Sheriff Bob Udell Friday, August 19 at 7:45 am. We'll be talking to him about all the challenges he has in his department and about the new body cameras now being worn by Deputies.
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