UPDATED: 9:43 a.m., April 21
Portland Police officers will soon begin wearing body cameras, following an agreement between the city and the Portland Police Association.
Mayor Ted Wheeler’s office announced the agreement late Thursday, calling it a “top priority.”
“The City and the PPA have long agreed that body worn cameras are an important tool for supporting and enhancing public trust in law enforcement,” Wheeler stated in a news announcement Thursday evening. “It was important to all parties that our policy was consistent with common practice, supported the unique needs of our city, and addressed privacy and transparency concerns highlighted by the community.”
For more than a year, the city and its police union were at an impasse on the implementation of body cameras. Neither party could agree on whether officers should be able to review the camera footage before writing incident reports. The two parties were slated to use an outside arbitrator to help reach a decision.
The new agreement calls for a two-month pilot program with the cameras.
PPB was advised to start using body-worn cameras back in 2014, as part of a settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice over the police bureau’s repeated use of force on people with mental illness.
A letter from the DOJ to the city's attorney notes the pilot program can be extended if the city and PPA agree.
As reported by The Oregonian, officers won’t get to review the footage until they provide internal investigators with a recorded statement, in instances where deadly force is involved or if an inmate dies in custody.