Portland police are testing six 'body cameras', wearable video cameras, to see if they should consider buying some.
They would join several other police departments, including Mesa Arizona, where officers routinely wear cameras.
“I wouldn’t have a problem with it,” said Portland Police Sergeant Pete Simpson, the public information officer.
He has friends in the Mesa department and talked with them about the cameras. “Many of the officers wearing them appreciate the fact that now they can be exonerated for complaints and the evidence can be shown that what they’re doing is proper and correct,” Simpson said.
He stressed that Portland has not decided whether to invest in body cameras.
At Extreme Products in Clackamas, you can buy a small wearable camera for just $65.00. “With technology now they’re able to get it down pretty small and yet have good quality picture and sound,” said Angela Cho, co-owner. She said Portland has not bought any cameras from her store but individual officers from other departments have.
The American Civil Liberties Union has never been afraid to challenge Portland police on issues of privacy. And when it comes to wearable cameras, the Oregon ACLU branch believes strict privacy rules need to be put in place first. But generally, the agency supports the idea.
“We would love to see the use of body cameras as a deterrent for police misconduct. I think more likely we will see it as a record in the event there is police misconduct,” said Becky Straus from ACLU Oregon.