The Kirkland Police Department will begin using body-worn cameras in early December. Officers in the department’s Traffic Unit will be the first to wear and operate body-worn cameras on duty, with the goal of equipping the whole department by the end of the year.
“Body-worn cameras are meant to enhance the safety of both our community members and our officers,” said City Councilmember Jon Pascal. “The Council heard from many in our community about body-worn cameras as we considered various issues of policy and funding. Providing our officers with body-worn cameras will support their efforts in keeping our community safe, while providing greater transparency and accountability into interactions between police and the public.”
The Kirkland Police Department says it will use body-worn cameras to capture interactions between officers and community members. Body-worn cameras will be used to collect evidence and assist officers with completing reports. According to the department, they will also be used to ensure accountability for policy and law violations, resolve complaints, and evaluate and train staff.
The Kirkland City Council adopted Ordinance O-4796 on July 5, 2022, which enacts a new chapter of the Kirkland Municipal Code restricting use of facial recognition technology and authorizing use of police body-worn cameras.
The decision to implement body-worn cameras in Kirkland came after a multi-year community conversation regarding the benefits and drawbacks of a body-worn camera program, including specific policy issues, as well as best practice research.