Portland police renew effort to put cameras on officers

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Portland police have renewed an effort to equip officers with body-worn cameras.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports that the police bureau has assigned a civilian program manager to lead a team drafting policies about how the cameras are used and how footage is retained and released. The manager, Tammy Mayer, held the first of 18 community meetings Friday. Officials hope to have officers wearing the cameras by October 2020 following a six-month pilot project later this year.

A federal judge nearly four years ago urged the city to begin using body-worn cameras, and the bureau set aside more than $800,000 for the cameras and began a similar public-input process. But in 2017 Mayor Ted Wheeler expressed a reluctance to move forward without more information about how the program would work.

The Police Executive Research Forum says more than half of all medium-to-large police departments in the United States now use or are testing body-worn cameras. Beaverton and Portland State University officers already wear cameras. Oregon State Police, Hillsboro and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office are launching body camera programs.