Costs, staffing keeping body cameras on the shelf instead of on - KPTV - FOX 12

Costs, staffing keeping body cameras on the shelf instead of on officers

Posted: Updated:

In the workroom at the Corvallis Police Department, two racks of body cameras, 55 in all, have sat charging and ready to be deployed for about a year.

The department bought the cameras at a cost of $30,000 but has been asked to hold off on using them by Benton County District Attorney John Haraldson.

"I learned that there's a complexity here that requires, really, some close attention," Haraldson explained.

Any video taken by law enforcement in Benton County that is used in a criminal case ends up in Haraldson's office, where it is reviewed by prosecutors. Right now, his office gets two to three cases with video a week from the Philomath Police Department, the only agency in the county that has implemented body cameras full-time.

"Our officers watch the video while they're writing police reports, and then if we ship it over to the DA's office, unfortunately, somebody's got to watch it over there, too," Chief Ken Rueben said.

In criminal cases, a defendant's attorney could ask for every frame of video related to the case. By law, anyone in the video not related to the case would have to be redacted, or blurred out, a process that can be time-consuming.

"One example that was given to me was that 20 minutes of video in a misdemeanor case took three hours to redact and blur," Haraldson said.

Right now, Philomath has just five officers generating video. Corvallis would have 45, and Haraldson said he just doesn't have the manpower to handle that kind of workload.

"Just to start, at a very conservative level, I would estimate we would need at least three full-time deputy DAs and a paralegal to support the three deputy DAs," he said.

Haraldson doesn't have the funds to hire those staffers, so until the infrastructure is in place, he will ask Corvallis police to hold off on using the cameras.

In Philomath, where the cameras are already in use, Chief Rueben said there hasn't been a citizen complaint since the program was implemented.

Copyright 2017 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly
FOX 12
Powered by WorldNow CNN
All content © 2018, KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation, Portland, OR . All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.