On Wednesday, September 20, 2017,
Kent City Councilmember Dana Ralph has begun rolling out a proposal that would call for the Kent Police Department to begin wearing body cameras on all patrol officers. Her pledge is this program would be implemented by the end of her first year as Mayor, December 2019.
“I have heard many in the community ask for additional police department transparency and accountability. We are incredibly lucky to have one of the best police departments in the nation – we want to keep it that way for decades to come. I believe implementing body cameras on our patrol officers will continue to improve community policing, community trust and equally it is fantastic protection for our police officers.
This eliminates a he said, she said argument because everything is documented on video. We no longer have to make assumptions in investigations because we will have facts available immediately. I want to ensure Kent is a safe place for every resident, visitor and business and this is a step in the right direction.
I’ve met with union leadership at the Kent Police Officers Association and community leaders and am committed to working with both groups as we roll out this proposal. While it isn’t innovative nationally, it certainly is innovative for Kent. There are vendors who will let us pilot the project with their equipment free of charge to the City and residents of Kent.
As Mayor, I will roll out this program immediately through a pilot project and then department wide. I have also had discussions with other cities who utilize body cameras to discuss data storage, records requests and logistical details of how their program works.
Again, I think this is one more step in the right direction for public transparency, accountability, officer safety and to continue to grow the solid relationship we have between our exceptional department and members of the community.”
[Source: Press Release from Dana Ralph]