D.C. police will wear body cameras as part of pilot program

Some will mount to a D.C. police officer’s collar or to the front of the officer’s shirt. Another model will be mounted to an eyeglass frame. But all will be ready to record the movements of 165 police officers as they interact with the public every day.

To help increase public trust between police officers and the city residents they are sworn to protect, District officers will begin wearing on-body cameras next week as they work. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier hopes to expand the pilot program to each of her department’s thousands of patrol officers in the coming years.

On Wednesday, Lanier and Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) released details of the six-month, $1 million program, which has been in development for more than a year. Starting Oct. 1, dozens of officers will test five camera models in each of the city’s seven police districts as well as in the school security and special operations divisions.
“The bottom line is, we believe that the body-worn cameras will enhance police work in our city, especially at a time when our population is steadily growing,” Gray said.

Lanier said she expects the cameras to cut down drastically on the number of complaints filed against police officers — as much as 80 percent, she predicted — as well as the time needed to investigate those complaints.

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