The Vancouver Police Department is tentatively expected to present a finalized camera vendor contract to the Vancouver City Council for its approval next month.
The department began testing and evaluating this second camera platform in July. The process lasted until Aug. 5, the agency said in a news release Tuesday. Five officers were equipped with body-worn cameras, and five vehicles were equipped with front-facing and rear-passenger compartment cameras.
On Monday, the Request for Proposal committee, which includes two community members and representatives from the City Attorney’s Office, Vancouver Police Department and the city’s Information Technology Department, provided its recommendations to the Executive Sponsor Committee. Now, contract negotiations between the city and the vendor will begin, the police department said.
The vendor will not be publicly identified until a contract is awarded, department spokeswoman Kim Kapp said.
Officers and the IT Department praised the cameras’ ease of use, Kapp said.
The cameras automatically turn on when the vehicle’s overhead light is activated, and the same goes for the body cameras when an officer removes their weapon from their holster, Kapp said. The cameras’ battery life also exceeded officers’ shifts.
In December, the police department cut short the first testing and evaluation of a camera platform. It then developed a revised request for proposal, which included additional operational needs and federal grant terms and conditions.
Kapp said the department then decided to do another pilot test for the top-ranked vendor.
“I think that was the right decision,” she said.
The city council budgeted $3 million in fiscal year 2021-22 for the camera program, and the city is anticipating a $1.5 million federal grant award this fall to support the program, according to the news release.
The city fast-tracked the camera initiative after public demand for better transparency and accountability from the Vancouver Police Department. Public scrutiny intensified after officers shot four people in 2019, leading the department to seek an independent assessment from a third-party organization, the Police Executive Research Forum.
More information on the Vancouver police camera study can be found at www.cityofvancouver.us/police/page/vancouver-police-camera-study.