PORTLAND, Ore. — The Portland City Council unanimously voted to approve a long-awaited agreement on the adoption of body-worn cameras for Portland police officers. Portland is one of the largest U.S. cities that does not have a body-worn camera program.
"Today is a historic day for our city," said Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler during Thursday's council meeting. "After a decade of discussions and negotiations, we're finally able to move forward and implement a critical tool for transparency and accountability."
Portland police officers can start wearing body cameras in the next couple of months. The vote on Wednesday came after officials and the police union reached an agreement on whether officers could view video footage before writing their own reports.
Ultimately, they decided that officers would not be allowed to watch video footage first in any serious use-of-force cases, or if someone dies. However, in incidents where no one is seriously injured, officers will be allowed to watch the video footage after their initial statement, then update the report.
"I am excited about this policy. I am ready to get this into go," said Deputy Chief of Police Mike Frome.
With the agreement, the Portland police will implement a 60-day pilot program where officers in the Central Precinct will be the first to wear cameras.
"Teams started meeting today to start developing the training that we're going to have to provide to the Central Precinct and the focus intervention team," said Frome.
About 80% of large U.S. police departments use body cams, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, and Portland is the largest city that still lacks them.