A Call for Portland Police Officers to Use Body-Worn Cameras

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URGENT UPDATE: Due to the sudden loss of Mayor Wheeler's mother, the Portland City Council will only hear testimony about the new police budget today, June 10th, at 2:00 pm and tomorrow, June 11th. The City Council will vote tomorrow evening. Please email our leaders and request that the program is included as part of agenda item 452!

Mayor Ted Wheeler, Police Commissioner:
Mayorwheeler@portlandoregon.gov
Commissioner Joann Hardesty:
JoAnn@portlandoregon.gov
Commissioner Chloe Eudaly:
Chloe@portlandoregon.gov
Commissioner Amanda Fritz:
Amanda@portlandoregon.gov

You can use the template below:

(Name, email, phone & zip here)

Mayor/Commissioner Name: 
I am commenting on agenda item 452. I request that you include funds for the Body-Worn Camera Pilot Program. Portland Police must be held accountable for their actions. The program will offer strict measures alongside the included policies and oversight in the amendment. 


Sincerely,

Name


Eric Garner. Michael Brown. Walter Scott. Freddie Gray. George Floyd.
 Our nation's trust in law enforcement continues to deteriorate as excessive force, racism, and cruel treatment are exposed regularly. To INCREASE police accountability, END police brutality, and IMPROVE community relations, we must require body-worn cameras for all law enforcement, including Portland Police officers.

The City of Portland has been unveiling the Body-Worn Camera Pilot Program since 2016 but has encountered repeated delays by city leaders. In April 2020, Mayor Wheeler announced that the program was cut from the proposed budget for 2020-2021 due to the financial impact of COVID-19. We all understand that COVID-19 has devastated our nation (and the world) in many ways. We must implore our city leaders to prioritize appropriate funding. Removing programs that are non-essential, ineffective, or which disproportionately target minorities can generate funding for body-worn cameras and support community resources. Programs like the Gun Violence Reduction Team, SERT (aka SWAT), Transit Police, and Student Resource Officers fall under these categories. Defunding these programs could generate over $30 million and significantly decrease the cost of payroll, overtime, and premium pay.

Compliance and accountability should always be a top priority in law enforcement, especially as police brutality and community tensions continue to rise. Body-worn cameras serve as a tool to ensure that police actions are compliant and just. Advocacy groups such as the NAACP and ACLU support body cameras to enhance and protect civil rights. The Oregon State Police, Washington County Sheriff's Office, and Beaverton Police Department are among many Oregon agencies that already use body cameras. As the largest law enforcement agency in Oregon, the Portland Police Bureau must implement this technology to protect citizens from police brutality and enforce accountability. 

It is our duty as citizens to demand change when we witness any injustice. If we don't, what message are we conveying? Our demand for compliance and accountability from law enforcement will not go unheard. 

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