Phoenix Police Hope New Body Cameras Remove Human Factor

Published: Monday, February 26, 2018 - 5:05am

More than a year after cancelling a bid for police body-worn cameras, Phoenix is ready to try again. The Public Safety subcommittee will recommend the full council approve a new request for bids with new specifications.

Executive Assistant Chief Mike Kurtenbach, who oversees the department’s body worn camera program, told the subcommittee auto activation is a top priority.

“Right now, an officer has to push a button or go through a series of practices depending on the vendor to activate a camera,” he explained. “To the extent that it’s possible to ensure that on a call for service, exiting the vehicle, or some other method that the camera automatically turns on, then you don’t miss something that you would want to capture.”

Among other things, he said the evaluation process will include comprehensive testing at the police academy. Phoenix currently has 300 cameras and expects to buy up to 2,000 over a five-year period.

When it comes to managing the video, Kurtenbach said the city prosecutor’s office currently has one position and the police department has six.

In 2016, the department estimated 16 new positions would be needed to support police and 12 for the city prosecutor’s office. Kurtenbach said the figures could change depending on the technology.

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