DC Metro Police body cameras
Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy L. Lanier (left) speaks at Wednesday press conference (CREDIT: Mike DeBonis/The Washington Post)
(Photo by Mike DeBonis/The Washington Post)

Washington D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray and Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Chief Cathy L. Lanier announced Wednesday that the city’s police officers will begin wearing body cameras as part of a new pilot program.

The use of the cameras will help document “events, actions, conditions, and statements made during citizen encounters, traffic stops, arrests, and other incidents,” according to a release from Gray.

The pilot is slated to start Oct. 1, 2014, and is expected to last six months. MPD has purchased five camera models from three different vendors. The pilot will involve approximately 165 MPD members, including volunteers from all the seven police districts, the Special Operations Division, and the School Safety Division.

Each member volunteering for the pilot will be assigned each of the five camera models and provide written feedback after each experience. Cameras will also be deployed to MPD’s Tactical Village, where members will have an opportunity to use the cameras while participating in practical, scenario-based training.

“We are looking at the best practices for implementing these devices,” Lanier said in a statement. “We are in an age where this type of technology is becoming more common, and we want to capitalize on that. The presence of cameras will benefit the community and MPD members by improving police services, increasing accountability and enhancing public safety.”

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