Washougal Police Department implements new Body-Worn Camera Program

The Washougal Police Department has introduced a new Body-Worn Camera Program to enhance transparency, accountability, and public trust in law enforcement, utilizing advanced cameras to record unbiased interactions and promote officer professionalism, while ensuring community safety.
Photo courtesy Washougal Police Department

The cameras will be worn visibly on the uniforms of patrol officers during their daily duties

The Washougal Police Department recently announced the implementation of its new Body-Worn Camera (BWC) Program, aimed at bolstering transparency, accountability, and public trust in law enforcement activities. This initiative will provide officers with innovative tools to record unbiased interactions, promote officer professionalism, and enhance community safety.

“We believe that implementing this body-worn camera program is a significant step forward for our department and our community,” said Chief of Police Wendi Steinbronn. “These cameras will not only enhance officer safety but also foster greater trust and transparency between our officers and the public. We are dedicated to utilizing the latest technology to improve policing practices and provide the highest level of service to our community.”

The Washougal Police Department conducted extensive research and evaluations to ensure the selected body-worn camera system, Axon, would seamlessly integrate into officers’ daily operations without hindering their ability to fulfill their duties effectively. The cameras will be worn visibly on the uniforms of patrol officers during their daily duties.

The BWCs utilized by the Washougal Police Department are equipped with advanced features, including high-definition video recording, improved low-light capabilities, and integrated audio recording. These cameras are designed to withstand the rigors of law enforcement duties and provide reliable documentation in various situations. The recorded footage will also be utilized to train and educate officers, enabling them to enhance their skills, improve de-escalation techniques, and maintain the highest standards of professional conduct.

To ensure the responsible use of the Body-Worn Camera Program, the Washougal Police Department has developed comprehensive guidelines and policies regarding camera activation, data storage, and access to footage. These guidelines adhere to the standards of privacy and comply with applicable laws and regulations. Officers have undergone thorough training on the appropriate usage and maintenance of the devices, including privacy considerations and adherence to legal and constitutional requirements.

The BWC program was funded by a combination of grants (2023 COPS Technology and Equipment Program) and the city’s general fund through the 2022 Clark County public safety tax which distributed collected revenue to area cities for BWCs. An additional administrative assistant will be hired to help with the records management.

About the Washougal Police Department

The Washougal Police Department is responsible for maintaining public safety and providing law enforcement services to the residents of Washougal. Committed to community-oriented policing, the department strives to create a safe and inclusive environment through effective crime prevention and response strategies. The community of 17,390 residents is served by a dedicated police force of 22 sworn officers.

Information provided by Washougal Police Department.

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