Council approves pursuing body-cam grant

By on Friday, January 28th, 2022 in Columbia Basin News More Top Stories

WALLA WALLA – The Walla Walla City Council unanimously approved Wednesday night moving forward with a U.S. Department of Justice grant that will go towards acquiring body-worn cameras for police officers. The grant is for $90,000 over three years.

Once the grant is received, the city council will still have to decide if they are going to sign for it and move forward with funding the body-worn camera program, according to WWPD Public Information Officer Sgt. Gunner Fulmer.

Fulmer explained the city will then have to figure out how to fund the program over the first five years. The total cost of the program is just under $900,000. With the grant, the city is looking at having to come up with nearly $778,000 to fund the rest of the program.

“Almost half of this cost is to hire a records clerk that will deal with the public disclosure requests that come with having video footage that may be requested by people involved in a case or lawyers,” Fulmer said.

There is no mandate to have body-worn cameras by any certain date, Fulmer said. He added that new legislative changes do not mandate a department have cameras.

“Custodial interrogations can be done in a recorded room or by use of a cell phone which is how our officers are conducting them now,” he said. The WWPD now awaits the city council’s decision on how it will address the full funding for the body-camera program.