Roy police officers will now be required to wear body cameras when on the job and are expected to turn them on when making a majority of contacts with citizens.
The Roy City Council passed a resolution during a meeting on Monday, Nov. 23, allowing the small police force to maintain, store and use the body cameras. The measure passed unanimously, 4-0, with council members Yvonne Starks, Clark Shane Crisler, Harvey Gilchrist and Leon Garrison voting for the measure.
Police Chief Darwin Armitage had been working for many months on bringing this effort forward to the council. The devices, he said, will act as a third-party witness to the daily interactions the police department has with citizens. The department is also hoping to stay ahead of the curve on possible police reforms that could come down by law in either the state Legislature or Congress.
“When people are on camera, they tend to be on their best behavior” on both sides, he told the Nisqually Valley News.
The Tacoma Police Department has already committed to implementing body cameras by 2021, and the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department is working on taking similar action, Armitage said.
The Roy police chief’s work on the project first started over the summer with the nationwide protests over police reform, after a 46-year-old Black man, George Floyd, was killed by an officer from the Minneapolis Police Department.
Amitage told KING5 News that he was beginning to see “the writing on the wall” and figured he should take the step of obtaining the cameras before the market got too saturated with buyers.
He shopped around and was able to get the cameras, the storage system and a program for video redactions for around $2,100 — a fraction of the price he would have paid if he’d gone with a contractor.
“We don’t have thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars to spend,” he said. “I’ve looked at over-the-counter stuff and didn’t look at companies that are proprietary.”
Armitage estimates the department will be going over usage and protocol over the next couple months. Although he’s set to retire in just a couple weeks, with an unnamed replacement currently in the hiring pipeline, Armitage said he expects to stick around as a reserve officer for as many weeks as the city will have him.
The city’s two reserve officers and its two full-time officers, which includes the police chief, will be required to wear the cameras. They’re expected to be outfitted with them before the end of the year.
Passage of 2021 City Budget
The City of Roy council on Monday, Nov. 23, also passed Ordinance 990, which appropriated funds for the 2021 city budget and adopted the document.
The council passed the budget unanimously, 4-0.
The city is expecting to begin the new year with a beginning balance of a little more than $1.51 million, and is expected to collect roughly $1.58 million in revenue and spend $1.77 million, according to the ordinance. The city is expecting to end 2021 with about $1.33 million in total fund balances.
Budgeted expenditures for the mayor’s office will increase, from $12,560 to $13,147. The mayor, a part-time position, will not receive a salary increase this year.
Administration-financial salaries are expected to see a $10,000 increase, from $59,100 to $69,103.
Salaries and benefits for the city’s water operations fund will see a rise, from $92,500 in 2020 to $118,482.
The police department’s total budget expenditures will see a substantial rise, from $287,852 to $336,350. Most of that is expected to come by way of increases to the department’s salaries, benefits and training; salaries and benefits alone will cost the city an extra $37,000.