VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) — A rash of officer-involved shooting has the Vancouver police chief looking once again at body cameras for officers.
Four shootings involving Vancouver police ended in 3 deaths since the beginning of 2019.
The first was a February 5 shootout on I-5 between VPD and Erkinson Bossy. He wasn’t shot but was injured in a crash and survived.
On Feb. 19, police officers shot and killed 16-year-old Clayton Joseph. A week later on Feb. 28, VPD officers fatally shot Michael Pierce. The on March 7, VPD again shot and killed Carlos Hunter who they said was armed with a handgun.
Though it wasn’t on the official agenda, the issue of body cameras was a hot topic at the Vancouver City Council meeting Monday night. Many people used the public comment time to promote the idea.
Police chief James McElvian said this is an opportune time to have the discussion.
“They have their place in law enforcement,” he said. “I believe as technology continues to expand in our profession, we should utilize it to our advantage.”
He acknowledges that officers do tend to be more mindful with cameras rolling but said the downside comes with a price tag.
“You have to be concerned about policies around them, the cost, the maintenance,” McElvian said. “It’s not a simple ‘turn on body cameras and every officer has them.'”
No action was taken by the City Council Monday night but it will be an ongoing discussion. Attendees also used public comment time to call for more police training and resources for those facing mental health issues.