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Next steps for Bend PD’s new body cam system

(Update: Adding video, comments)

Krantz calls them a key tool, but adds: 'They don't tell the whole story'

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- On Wednesday evening, a split Bend City Council approved a 5-year, $1 million contract to purchase a body-worn camera system for the police department.

Police Chief Mike Krantz told councilors the cameras add “an additional layer of transparency to our work” and are “likely to resolve complaints faster.”

But Krantz also said they are just one piece of the law enforcement puzzle.

"They never tell the whole story. They are two-dimensional video devices that don't record some things officers do see at the time," Krantz said. "They also record things that officers may not see at the time."

Although they cannot be turned on 24/7, there are certain mandatory activation situations, under state law and policy, including enforcement or investigative contacts, forced entry, or calls that involve mentally ill or suicidal individuals.

State law also directs deactivation when there is an interaction that could contain protected medical or health information.

City Councilor Anthony Broadman, who voted a reluctant yes for the body cams contract, says all signs point to departments having this technology nationwide.

"First off, I think all police departments and sheriff's departments are going to moving toward using body cams," Broadman said Thursday. "So it's somewhat academic if we do it now or in the future."

Broadman does have his reservations, however.

"Body cams are a small part of leveling up," Broadman said.

His focus is on more than just cameras.

"When you're on camera, whether you're a criminal suspect or somebody interacting with police or a police officer, maybe you'll act differently," Broadman said. "But I'm much more focused on training and hiring the right people."

Broadman says he wants to ensure that taxpayer dollars are being used effectively, and hopes this city council eventually creates a program similar to CAHOOTS (Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets) in Eugene, so law enforcement can focus their attention on what's best for the community.

CAHOOTS is a mobile crisis intervention team integrated into the public safety system of the cities of Eugene and Springfield.

Bend police will host a virtual community forum in early May to answer public questions about the body-worn camera equipment.

The final purchase and implementation of the system is set to take place this summer.

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Alec Nolan

Alec Nolan is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Alec here.

Comments

7 Comments

  1. Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

    According to the DCSO briefing now two weeks on its body and vehicle camera system, correctly titled as mobile recording equipment (MRE) the purpose and objective of the system is to enhance Public trust and safety, promote the Safety of its deputies and the Public, improve accuracy, and preserve information.

    MRE audio and video provides important information but it must also be considered with all other available evidence. The Sheriff’s Office MRE package and policies, procedures, and training follows Oregon Revised Statutes.

    MRE may capture something the wearer did not see or hear, or the wearer may see or hear something the MRE did not capture. Video and audio cannot capture tactile responses that a deputy may feel, such as tensing of muscles or body.

    MRE recordings cannot capture the psychological phenomena that the wearer may experience during a high-stress situation (i.e., “tunnel vision, auditory exclusion).

    And the key policy points at DCSO regarding use of the MRE include the deputy must record all public demand, community initiated, and self-initiated calls for service involving contact with community members; this includes but is not limited to traffic stops, field interviews, searches and community-policing contacts; Deputies will verbally advise contacts that the conversation is being recorded at the beginning of the contact, or as soon as reasonable.

    MRE will not be used to intimidate any person or to discourage them from observing DCSO activities, making inquiries or complaints. DCSO deputies will not edit, alter, erase video or audio recordings nor do they have the ability to do so.

    When/if a deputy believes the use of MRE would impede or limit the cooperation of a suspect, victim or witness during an investigative contact in their public safety response, the deputy may use her/his discretion regarding activation of the camera. One example would be the victims of domestic violence who are ashamed, embarrassed, or fearful of being recorded both visually and on audio. Also, situations requiring immediate action where it is either unsafe or impractical to activate the MRE. In such cases the deputy will do so when the immediate threat has been addressed and it is safe for the deputy and the Public to activate her/his body cam.

    DCSO has purchased the MRE equipment for each of its patrol cars and is equipping each car, a process that requires expertise and time, so that, for example, the MRE in the vehicle will self-activate as well as activate the deputy’s body camera when she/he leave the vehicle. This allows for both a redundant recording system; a second camera that may capture information the deputy’s body camera might not; and adds to the safety of the deputy as she/he will not have to be distracted under a high stress situation to manually turn on her/his body camera.

    Big difference between DCSO and BPD systems and storage? DCSO system/storage is internal to the agency and access is strictly controlled / monitored and recorded automatically.

    Also, the MRE patrol car units are programed to activate the deputy’s body cam automatically as he she/leaves the vehicle. Car mounted units are in the process of being installed and will take some time as it is labor intensive and only so many patrol units can be off the streets at any one time.

    Sheriff Nelson ensured several Zoom briefings were held for the media and others to reflect this and additional information for the record. Perhaps soon Chief Mike Krantz at Bend PD will do the same?

    1. Well, not really. And not at all.

      And if you knew anything about MRE systems, especially the ones chosen by both BPD and DCSO, the manual ON-OFF activation, when turned ON or OFF by the wearer, is a data point that is recorded and stored in the server.

      When reviewed, and if the camera was turned OFF, the deputy or officer has to account for why?

      To include having his/her written report reviewed as well as other factors.

      And the data stored in the server cannot be altered / erased as it is locked into place and only specific individuals can access it – their efforts to do so likewise recorded / stored in the server.

      It is about as fool-proof as it can be and far, far more reliable than some “peacekeeper” with his cell camera and full capability to pick and choose what he wants to film, and to edit said footage at will.

      But then you probably know that, yes?

      1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhgQ4lTYkT0

        If you or I even touched that dog we would be arrested for assaulting a police officer, but the dog is just something to inflict pain on for cops. All cops, not just a few bad apples. This is what cops are. Did you hear the other cops? “No witnesses, you’re good. You’re camera is off, right?” That’s every single cop. They will do this to their own dog, and they dang sure will flip off their camera when they decide to assault me. ACAB. Nobody will ever buy into your pro-cop bullcrap, because we didn’t just wake up yesterday. But you probably know that, yes?

  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktiozJt7WJQ&t=2s

    Watch a couple ‘bad apples’ mace an Army Lt because he was smart enough to drive to the nearest well-lit gas station to be attacked by them. Imagine how different their response would have been if he had been a white woman? The camera footage will be used against the Army Lt, and used to exonerate the cops, because they obviously feared for their lives.

  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FChlMRFEZWQ

    It took The Intercept for this to come to light, more than two years after they’d framed the guy and gotten him to plea guilty. This is every cop. No camera footage will ever be used for your benefit, it will only be used to prove your guilt, and if it proves you were abused/framed/assaulted then it will never see the light of day. Because police. This is nothing new. This is every day, every where, every cop.

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