Vancouver PD body cameras not enough, civil rights orgs say

Clark County

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Vancouver police are in the process of adding body and dash cameras to their fleet.

Right now, they’re testing a pilot program expected to fully go into affect in spring of next year.

This comes as yet another step of accountability after the Vancouver Police Department shot 4 people, including minorities and people with mental illness in a one month time frame in 2019.

The League of United Latin American Citizens of Southwest Washington and the NAACP Vancouver are two of the civil rights organizations that have been pushing for answers and accountability from law enforcement throughout Clark County in recent years. The body cameras now being implemented were part of their leaders’ calls for transparency.

“We don’t trust the way they give reports and the only thing we can trust is what we can see with our eyes, and body cams lend us that,” said President Jasmine Tolbert of NAACP Vancouver.

Ed Hamilton Rosales of LULAC said while body cameras are a step in the right direction, advocating for accountability should not stop there.

“I think it’s important to recognize these are not the final fix,” Rosales said. “These are not going to stop police shootings. This will allow us to have a better control of accountability.”

Moving forward, both civil rights leaders would like to have more conversations with law enforcement about crafting the policies and rules they’ll have in place for these body camera programs.

Vancouver police said it’s still a work in progress, but they’ll share their policy directives once the body camera system is finalized in the new year.

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