The Metro Transit Police Department (MTPD) announced on March 24 the launch of its Body-Worn Camera Program, which will train and equip all MTPD officers, sergeants and lieutenants to begin carrying body-worn cameras in the coming months. The body-worn cameras will supplement the more than 20,000 cameras Metro has throughout the rail, bus, and paratransit system to further strengthen public safety and security efforts.
The department will take a staged approach in its rollout of body-worn cameras, beginning with a group of approximately two dozen highly trained officers in the MTPD’s Special Response Team (SRT) and Tactical Operations Unit (TOU). These officers will be the first to begin carrying body-worn cameras later this month. Following the initial deployment, body-worn cameras will be put into use at each of the three MTPD districts, with an estimated 315 officers trained and equipped by the end of the summer.
“At Metro, we are committed to the safety and security of our customers, our employees, and our officers. I am confident that the new body-worn camera program will continue to build trust and confidence in the department’s work,” said MTPD Chief Michael Anzallo. “The research, data, and feedback we’ve gathered from similar programs in the region have provided us with important insights that will strengthen the rollout of this important safety tool and enhance the overall success of our program.”
The body-worn camera is a device with internal memory for storage of recorded audio and video. The cameras will be attached to the outer garments of MTPD officers to capture a forward-facing view. Video and audio recording can then be initiated by the officer at any time and includes a prerecording feature. At the start of any recording, MTPD officers will be required to inform individuals that the audio and video of the situation is being recorded by the officer’s body-worn camera.
A new MTPD policy has been established to ensure recordings, investigations, and retention of records are conducted in accordance with best practices. There are many documented benefits of law enforcement using body-worn cameras, including case studies nationally and internationally, that link body-worn cameras to reductions in crime, police-generated incidents, and assaults on police officers. For example, the National Institute of Justice recently found that law enforcement agencies that use body-worn cameras recorded a decrease in civilian fatalities.
The MTPD’s Community Services Bureau will begin working to ensure customers are educated and informed around the deployment, protocols, and use of body-worn cameras. Relevant information will be distributed throughout the community by officers, as well as using Metro’s social media channels, website, and customer emails.
Read more at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority