Byram praises body cameras

By on Friday, January 5th, 2024 in Columbia Basin News More Top Stories

PENDLETON – The Pendleton Police Department has been using body cameras since 2019. The Portland Police Bureau is instituting body cameras for its officers this year. Pendleton Police Chief Chuck Byram says he has no first-hand knowledge of what took the Rose City so long, but he thinks once the cameras are recording, police will see the benefits.

“I wouldn’t want our officers doing their job today without those body cameras,” he said. “It helps us a lot in complaints. It helps with training. It helps with evidence preservation.”

Byram said that body cameras are not without problems. Sometimes they don’t work, and conspiracy theorists jump on those instances to spread falsehoods.

“When those issues arise, there’s a certain group or subset in every community that will point at us and say, ‘You guys are doing that on purpose,’” he said. “I can tell you right now as the chief of police of the Pendleton Police Department, I do not have access to the cameras in order to delete videos. I can’t do it. Nobody in my agency can do it.”

Byram said the police can redact (edit or blur) videos for purposes of releasing information to the public, but they cannot delete videos. That power rests with the company which follows state law in how long those records must be kept.