In what Boise Police Department officials are describing as a leap forward for transparency and evidence gathering, the first round of Taser Axon body cameras have been deployed to 30 officers on the BPD night team and its supervisors, with more cameras on the way.
"Body cameras provide a tool which not only documents the great work officers do each day but improves our training, makes criminal prosecution more efficient and builds trust in the community by providing even greater transparency," said Boise Police Chief Bill Bones in a statement.
The cameras are set for a phased release, with officers expected to be equipped with an additional 220 of the units over the next year. When the rollout is complete, every uniformed officer will wear one.
- Harrison Berry
- Boise Police Officer Matt Bryngelson demonstrated how the body cameras will be used.
When an officer interacts with a member of the community, he or she will push a button that retains the previous 30 seconds of video and all later video until the officer interaction has concluded.
Flagged video will be kept as evidence and stored for a period of time in proportion to the nature of the alleged offense.
Bryngelson said officers need time to adjust to the new equipment, but "I don't think there's a Boise Police Department officer that would have any problem with recording everything that we do."
- Harrison Berry
- Docks at the Boise Police Department recharge the cameras' batteries and upload their video.
"The privacy issue has probably been the most difficult aspect. The public recording laws in the state of Idaho didn't anticipate video," he said.
In December 2015, the Boise City Council approved a five-year, $1.5 million contract with Taser to lease the Axon cameras, but the real cost of the program is in data storage, which is expected to cost almost $100 per camera per month.
The Ada County Sheriff's Office started equipping its deputies with body cameras in 2014.