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Snohomish County sheriff is thrilled to launch body cameras

(AP file photo)

Deputies in Snohomish County might be wearing body cameras this week as part of a pilot program before every officer is outfitted with the cameras in 2022.

Snohomish County Sheriff Adam Fortney told KTTH’s Jason Rantz that a few different units –motorist and violent offenders — will begin testing three different cameras starting this week.

As for the future, Fortney says the county budget process seems to be going well and he’s “fairly confident” a body camera program will be funded for 2022 and beyond.

Fortney told Rantz he’s proud of the job his deputies do every day and he thinks body camera are an opportunity to show the community what he sees.

“In this day and age, Jason, just to be honest with you, there are portions of our community that don’t believe what the police say anymore and don’t believe what we do,” Fortney said. “If we can try to rectify that a little bit, and big picture — we have more transparency and not less, and the people and the community get to see what we do every day, how could I ever be opposed to that?”

He added that he’s been supportive of body cameras since day one and he’s thankful the pilot program is finally launching this week.

Fortney thinks the activist community thought they were going to catch police officers engaged in bad behavior once cops were outfitted with body cameras, but he says that’s just not the case.

“It’s interesting when we have both the activist community and the line-level police officers and deputies … demanding the same thing,” Fortney said. “Both sides want body cams. It’s for different reasons, but I think that’s a good thing.”

He said he also welcomes the added scrutiny and promised that if the cameras catch an officer doing something wrong, they’ll hold that officer accountable.

According to the Everett Herald, the sheriff’s office requested $1 million from the county budget to start the body camera program in 2022. It’s expected the office will need that funding annually to maintain the program. The county executive’s office told the Herald that public disclosure is the most expensive element of the program.

The Everett Herald reports that the Everett City Council approved a contract last year to outfit the Everett Police Department with body cameras. That program costs the city about $1.46 million over five years.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3 – 6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

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