- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 16, 2015

SEATTLE (AP) - A federal monitor who is overseeing Seattle’s police reforms says it’s time for all the city’s officers to be using body cameras.

The Seattle Times reports (https://is.gd/V6LqwT ) that the monitor, Merrick Bobb, calls the cameras a key tool for accountability and transparency and says the time to use them is now.

The monitor’s strong support for body cameras is contained in a 47-page report made public Monday. It’s the fifth semiannual report since the city entered into a 2012 consent decree with the U.S. Justice Department to curtail excessive force and biased policing.

Bobb’s recommendation comes as the police department confirms that it plans to shift from a small pilot program to department-wide use of the cameras by some 640 patrol officers.

He says studies show body cameras substantially reduce use of force and citizen complaints.

The report also praises the department’s efforts to comply with the consent decree. He commended Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole and her newly formed command staff.

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Information from: The Seattle Times, https://www.seattletimes.com

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