VPD officers will start wearing body cameras one week after Salem PD launched its program.

VANCOUVER, Wash. — Police officers in Vancouver are slated to start wearing body cameras starting Monday.

“We have budgeted for 220 officers to have cameras here,” Chief Jeff Mori said.

While Chief Mori is a huge proponent of body cameras, he credits his predecessor, James McElvain, for ultimately bringing them to the Vancouver Police Department. It’s a move, Chief Mori says the community will benefit from.

“It makes us more efficient,” Chief Mori said. “It helps with our report writing, makes sure we gather all the details the way they’ve been recorded. But equally, importantly it builds that transparency and trust with our community.”

The Salem Police Department is also building that transparency and trust with the community. Just last week Salem police launched its body camera program.

“Honestly I think we’re behind the times here because out of the 18,000 law enforcement agencies across the country I think the last data I saw was about 54% already have body cameras,” Salem Police Chief Trevor Womack said. “They’ve been around for a long time. I think it’s becoming a standard part of police equipment.”

Where you will not see body cameras, at least for now, is in Portland.

While the city and police union agree on just about every aspect of the program, the two sides are at odds over when officers can review the recorded video. 

The city proposes allowing officers to look at the video after almost every incident except deadly force incidents. The union, however, is calling for officers to be allowed to review the video after all incidents, even deadly force incidents. With both sides declaring an impasse in negotiations, an arbitrator has now stepped in to settle the dispute.

There are no such issues in Vancouver. Chief Mori is more than ready for Monday, when his officers will start wearing Axon body cameras.

“We think we’ll benefit greatly from the latest technology they have and our officers are looking forward to it.”

Chief Mori says VPD is also adding cameras to its squad cars, but those will not be rolled out until much later in the year due to supply chain issues.

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