Lake Forest Park Police to use Body-Worn Cameras

Monday, October 5, 2020

Photo from Axon

By Tracy Furutani

Due to difficulties with the operation of vehicle-based (fleet) cameras for patrol cars, Lake Forest Park Police Department officers will use body-worn cameras to record interactions with the public, said LFP Police Chief Mike Harden.

In the September 24, 2020 LFP City Council Budget and Finance Committee meeting, Harden said that the original plan of installing eight fleet cameras at a cost of nearly $100,000 over five years, which the City Council had approved in a previous budget, ran into problems.

The cameras were purchased from Axon, a Scottsdale, Arizona-based public safety technology company.

“We experienced a lot of issues with getting the system to work correctly, several issues with WiFi, IT on our side, hardware not working correctly,” he said.

“It got to the point where I spoke to a high-level [executive] expressing my frustration…with Axon.”

Ultimately, this led to a deal in which the original five-year contract was renegotiated for a significant cost savings: the fleet cameras were removed from the department vehicles, and every officer will be assigned a body-worn camera (also made by Axon) issued to them, for a total of 21 cameras.

The advantage of body-worn cameras is “better camera coverage because it’s attached to the officer instead of being stationary in a patrol car, only getting the audio if they leave the view of the camera,” said Harden.

The only recurring cost will be to pay for uploading the camera data to cloud storage, which will run $10,000 to $12,000 annually. This storage usage will be monitored for the next few years to determine what amount of storage the department actually needs.

To a question posed by Council member Semra Riddle, he said the department had developed its camera policy in its Policy Manual (Policy 448) to comply with state regulations (RCW 10.109), regarding “activation, notification, training [and] security.”

Council member Mark Phillips asked how long the video data was to be stored, and Harden said “our policy is for 60 days,” though video that is “tagged”, such as those showing “serious crimes,” would be kept as long as it is needed.

The cameras come with a one-year warranty, said Harden. Committee chair and Council member John Resha and Council member Tom French asked about the lifecycle of police technology (including the cameras) and their replacement costs.

“Through the next few bienniums, we’ll add a couple of cameras just as a replacement… so we’re always on top of it and it doesn’t hit the budget really hard,” said Harden.


Anonymous,  October 6, 2020 at 9:23 AM  

It should be noted that LFPPD was one of the first agencies in the region and state to use BWCs. However, their program was sidelined due to cost concerns, specifically equipment and data storage costs. I'm glad to see that the department is coming back to them.

Post a Comment

We encourage the thoughtful sharing of information and ideas. We expect comments to be civil and respectful, with no personal attacks or offensive language. We reserve the right to delete any comment.
Facebook: Shoreline Area News
Twitter: @ShorelineArea
Daily Email edition (don't forget to respond to the email)

  © Blogger template The Professional Template II by 2009

Back to TOP