Plan for Police Body Cameras Advances in D.C. Council

More than 2,000 D.C. police officers could be wearing body cameras by next March.

The judiciary committee of the D.C. Council unanimously approved a plan on Thursday for the 2,800 patrol officers in the District to wear body cameras.

"We want to reduce the false complaints against our officers who risk their lives on a daily basis, but at the same time we want to make sure that we are fostering better community police relations," judiciary chairman Kenyan McDuffie said.

The Council's bill -- now expected to go before the full Council by the end of the year -- would insure the camera footage would be more easily available to the public than what Mayor Muriel Bowser proposed last spring.

"This bill is drastically better than the bill that was initially submitted eight months ago," McDuffie said. "We've had groups like the ACLU, the Fraternal Order of Police, the Open Government Coalition, the national reporters' committee, all at the table."

The plan still would protect the privacy of people caught on video connected with cases of domestic violence and sexual abuse.

Bowser supports the revised bill, press secretary Michael Czin said.

"There was a lot of back and forth over the last couple of months," he said. "But what we're really happy about is we've been able to balance the goals of transparency and accountability."

The District is ordering thousands of cameras and training officers.

"Our goal is to transcend any Ferguson kind of situation," Councilmember Anita Bonds said.

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