SPOKANE, Wash. - A million dollar program intended to bring additional accountability to the Spokane Police Department, is starting to produce some very visual results as the department has started releasing some of the video that's now being recorded by body cams.
Body cams put you in a police officer's shoes so you can get a first hand look at the people and problems they deal with every day. By now you've seen what we call "ride-along video" shot by a news photographer who shadows a cop during their calls for service. But now instead of distant shots through a windshield the view is up close and personal.
Spokane Police Officer Brad Moon is one of the first officers who volunteered to start wearing a body cam as part of a four month pilot program that started in September.
"Well I figured if that was the direction we were going and everyone was going to get one, I might as well volunteer," he said. "I've done the business the same with the body camera as I have 17 years without the body camera, so why not?"
Moon said he has nothing to hide and the body cam wouldn't let him.
The video is easy to see and hear in even low light conditions and once the video in the camera is uploaded at the end of the officer's shift it goes to a secure storage area where you can get a copy of it.
"It uploads the video to evidence.com, which is a secure server, not here, not even in the State of Washington, and at the same time it recharges the battery for the next day's use," Spokane Police Officer Ryan Snider said.
Police think body cams will likely change their demeanor, but Moon is already seeing a difference in the public's behavior as well.
"I think the average, normal citizen or person out there, if they know they are being videoed, it's going to change their behavior or potentially, the behavior they were thinking about doing, because when anyone's on camera they know there's the potential for other people to see it," he said.
So now the police department's top leaders want you to be able to see what the body cams can do and for the public to have a chance to have input on what the policies that will direct their use. To that end they will be holding a community forum at Cataldo Hall on the Gonzaga University campus Thursday afternoon at 5:30 p.m.