Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $133,681)
The Skagit County Sheriff’s Office has four broad objectives to support the implementation of a Body Worn Camera Program. First, is the development of sound BWC policies and practices consistent with state and local laws. Second, is the broad support by several stakeholders. Third, is the development of a BWC training program and fourth is the process and staffing to address access to and sharing of BWC video for both discovery and as public disclosure requests.
This request is to support a new BWC Program implementation within the Skagit County Sheriff’s Office. By meeting our objectives, we aim to improve accountability and transparency, reduce the number of citizen complaints and the time needed to resolve them, improve the quality of evidence and thereby improve court outcomes, and improve officer training.
The Skagit County Sheriff’s Office will meet all requirements of the grant. This will include the procurement of sixty-seven (67) AXON 3 BWCs, essential equipment and services in compliance with federal and local guidelines. The SCSO shall work in coordination with the training and technical assistance provider to report progress and receive guidance. With the assistance and cooperation with the (TTA) the SCSO will provide documentation of the comprehensive BWC policy development through the BWC certification form, completing a BWC Policy Scorecard. We are committed to the successful implementation of the BWC Program. Two of our staff have been identified to attend the exit conference to share our experience and our progress report.
The project will take place entirely in Skagit County, that is home to four major cities--Anacortes, Burlington, Mount Vernon, and Sedro Woolley—14 towns and census-designated places, and 23 unincorporated communities. The population is approximately 131,000 with about 30% living in in the unincorporated areas of the County. The Sheriff’s Department has interlocal agreements with the towns of La Conner and Concrete for law enforcement services
The program will help the SCSO enhance our community oriented policing strategies by promoting transparency and accountability. The BWC Program will help to improve upon public and officer safety, reducing negative interactions. The SCSO will utilize the BWC Program to support the entire criminal justice system, through the effective use of video for improved evidence for arrest and prosecutions or for the aid of the public defender. The BWC Program will also provide additional training opportunities for SCSO personnel.