Panel recommends delay in plan for Seattle police body cameras until more input is heard

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SEATTLE — A committee has recommended Seattle delay its plan to equip police with body cameras until privacy issues can be considered and public comment heard.

The Seattle Times reports (http://is.gd/xSZzSb ) that the city's Community Police Commission issued a statement saying the new technology may have unintended consequences.

The 12-member commission has struggled for months to come to agreement on the issue. The group supported a plan to try out the camera in the East Precinct, but it is now saying the department should pause the plan to make the cameras permanent until more study can be completed.

Seattle officials had planned to equip every patrol officer with the small cameras by 2016. Other police forces across the country have already adopted police body cameras.

Many law enforcement officials support cameras' use and say they are effective. The police department in Rialto, California, found after a yearlong University of Cambridge study last year that the cameras led to an 89 percent drop in complaints against officers, possibly reining in misbehavior on the part of the public and officers as well as ultimately limiting department liability.

But Ron Smith of the Seattle Police Officers' Guild says there hasn't been enough public input on the idea.


Information from: The Seattle Times, http://www.seattletimes.com

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