COLLEGE PLACE – The question regarding why officers don’t wear body cameras was addressed at Tuesday’s College Place Police Department town hall.
“This is a common question,” Chief Troy Tomaras said. “There are many reasons.”
Tomaras said the three reasons many law enforcement agencies don’t use body cameras or in-car cameras are costs, public disclosure and staffing requirements.
“We are looking at body cameras for the College Place Police Department,” he said. “My officers want body cameras. The city is looking at ways to make this happen.”
Body cameras are expensive. Tomaras said the preliminary costs for the cameras and software his department is looking at is approximately $90,000. Other police jurisdictions, like Pendleton and Hermiston, use body cameras, and have reported that another huge cost is storing the videos that are produced.
“Our legislators are looking at making this a priority,” he said. “So we are hopeful there could be some financial support in disclosure reform to help small department’s like ours so we can get those cameras in place.”
Tomaras said that under state law, anyone can request disclosure of an incident. In the case of body camera footage, a staff member has to look at an incident, redact protected information and then distribute the filings.
“This is very time consuming,” he said. “We need to hire more staffing to handle disclosure.”