Portland Cops Will Finish Body-Cam Training by Year’s End

The Portland Police Association and city officials came to a compromise earlier this year on when officers can watch the footage.

ON PATROL: Portland police officers at Northeast 82nd Avenue and Tillamook Street. (Brian Burk)

The Portland Police Bureau is moving quickly to roll out body-worn cameras in the wake of the compromise reached this spring among its union, the city and the U.S. Department of Justice over policies governing their use.

The bureau plans to train officers in the Central Precinct and gun violence response team on use of the cameras this month, according to a “joint status report” filed in federal court on Aug. 8.

The city’s training, which focuses on circumstances in which the cameras should be used, will happen “either concurrently or close in time” with training by Axon, the manufacturer, on how to use the new technology. The remaining officers will be trained on the new policy during “fall in-service training,” which will be completed before the end of the year.

The training, as well as the continued rollout of the program following a 60-day pilot, is contingent on approval by the Department of Justice, which took the city to court a decade ago over the Police Bureau’s use of force against people with mental illness.

The Portland Police Association and city officials long disagreed whether police should be allowed to review body-camera footage before writing a report. They came to a compromise earlier this year to “avoid the delays and uncertain outcomes of interest arbitration,” resulting in the new policy: It requires that officers give a recorded account of what happened before reviewing video in cases where someone is injured or dies.

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