COOS BAY — Coos Bay Police officers will soon begin wearing body cameras that can record their interactions with citizens during police calls, creating a higher level of transparency and helping better record those interactions for evidence.
The Coos Bay Police Department began utilizing digital in-car camera systems inside all patrol vehicles more than 12 years ago, according to the City of Coos Bay. The high definition in-car video systems provide a critical third-person point of view of incidents, which has provided crucial evidence in myriad circumstances.
Wanting to add to their arsenal of evidence gathering tools, the department began testing various body worn cameras back in 2015, but it wasn’t until 2019 when WatchGuard, the manufacturer of the department’s in-car camera systems, came out with a body worn camera which works as one integrated system with their in-car camera system to capture a single incident from multiple vantage points.
In early 2020, the department submitted its draft budget, which included a request to purchase 10 body-worn cameras for this year’s budget that began July 1. The draft budget was reviewed and approved in May by the Budget Committee and later adopted in June by the City Council. On July 2, the new camera equipment was ordered.
It is anticipated that the new equipment will arrive sometime in late August and be operational in early September. The 10 body-worn cameras will enable all of the Coos Bay Police Department's on-duty patrol officers and supervisors to be outfitted as well as the school resource officer, community resource officer, and detectives.
"We anticipate this new tool will help in capturing compelling and unbiased video evidence of our officers doing what they do best: protecting the citizens of our community," said a CBPD spokesperson.