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The Today File

Your guide to the latest news from around the Northwest

September 12, 2014 at 7:26 PM

King County Council member introduces body-camera proposal

A King County Council member has introduced legislation calling for a pilot project that would outfit King County sheriff’s deputies with body cameras and develop a task force to address privacy and public-disclosure issues relating to the recording devices.

The proposal would allow the King County Sheriff’s Office to develop a program to experiment with officer-worn digital cameras, Councilman Dave Upthegrove said on Friday. Upthegrove said introducing the legislation would also start a conversation about how to balance transparency and accountability with privacy.

The idea for the proposal, Upthegrove said, came about as he watched events unfold in Ferguson, Mo., where the shooting of an unarmed black teen by a white police officer sparked protests across the country.

King County Sheriff John Urquhart said he supports using body cameras and Upthegrove’s legislation.

“Maintaining the trust of the community is my No. 1 priority, and the implementation of body cameras for my deputies will help ensure that,” Urquhart said in a news release.

The legislation is expected to be referred to the Law, Justice, Health and Human Services committee on Monday, Upthegrove said.

The Seattle Police Department’s body-camera pilot program is on hold while department officials address the questions involving privacy and technical issues, spokesman Patrick Michaud said on Friday. The one-year pilot program was slated to begin last July.

The city of Spokane is testing body cameras on 17 officers and deciding whether to put them on all Spokane officers next year.

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: body cameras, King County Council, King County Sheriff's Office

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