Coeur d’Alene patrol officers have an addition to their uniforms.
Patrol personnel are now wearing recently purchased body cameras, the Coeur d’Alene Police Department announced Wednesday. Chief Wayne Longo requested $36,500 from the department’s current budget for the cameras. The department purchased more than 40 cameras at $875 each.
“It’s kind of the trend across the nation,” police Sgt. Christie Wood said of the use of body cameras. “I think all law enforcement are reviewing it to see how effective it can be and if it works for their agency. We feel that it does work for our agency.”
The department studied the cameras for the past two years and tested several camera types before selecting the Vievu Point of View model, Wood said. Technicians tested for reliability, ease of use, and audio and video quality.
“It is our hope that the use of the Vievu cameras provides the information necessary to perform our duties efficiently and professionally,” Longo said in a statement.
Officers in Airway Heights, Post Falls and on the Coeur d’Alene Indian Reservation wear body cameras. Spokane Mayor David Condon and the Spokane City Council are pushing for the use of body cameras in the Spokane Police Department, which began testing different models in June.
The Coeur d’Alene Police Department has used dash cameras in patrol cars since the 1990s, Wood said, but there are times that an officer is not directly in front of the vehicle and not able to record an incident.
“Also, dash cams do not allow for seeing the incident through the officer’s point of view,” she said. “Officers are judged on their quick reactions to situations.”
The body cameras offer “really good, solid evidence,” and can provide a supervisor, judge or jury with that point of view, she said. Video preserves the location of the physical evidence, allows for narration and can give “walk-through” analysis of a scene.
“Evidence is sometimes visual, and the best way to record it is through video recording,” Wood said. “The department now has the ability to review officer contacts with citizens that result in citizen complaints and either address those concerns when valid or protect against false accusations.”
Wood said there wasn’t any resistance to using the cameras, and officers in the department have embraced the change.
“We’re excited about the opportunity,” she said. “The officers like them a lot.”