Liberty Link: ACLU-WA Urges Spokane to Strengthen Police Body Camera Policies

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

By the end of the summer, the Spokane Police Department (SPD) will begin using officer-worn cameras as part of a pilot program. While the ACLU-WA has supported the use of body cameras for accountability purposes, we recently expressed concern that the SPD’s draft policies do not adequately protect individual privacy or ensure effective oversight.

In an article titled “Camera Clash,” the weekly Inlander’s Jacob Jones reported on a letter we sent to Spokane laying out our concerns in detail. In particular we pointed out that the current draft allows officers to turn cameras on and off at their discretion, which undermines their usefulness as a tool for accountability.

"The Department has an opportunity to be a leader for the state by creating strong, privacy-protecting policies for body cameras," we wrote. "Unfortunately, [this policy] does not accomplish this."

The ACLU hopes that the SPD will engage with the community as they consider the best policies for body cameras, and we look forward to continuing to work with the SPD as they revise the current policy.

You can read the full article here.