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Police officers now outfitted with vests that house video recording devices

Scappoose Police Department is the latest law enforcement agency in Columbia County to incorporate body cameras into its policing.

Officers were recently outfitted with new vests, complete with a phone that records video footage and a watch-size sensor that can activate the body camera with the tap of a finger.

Scappoose Police Chief Norm Miller introduced the new tactical vests to the City Council Monday evening.

"It can detect when an officer is down and immediately send a call for help," Miller noted Monday.

The use of body cameras has become widely accepted among law enforcement agencies, especially in the wake of scrutiny over officer-involved shootings.

Miller says the cameras provide an extra layer of safety and accountability.

"It will automatically go on if an officer throws a punch," Miller said, adding the recording feature can also be triggered if it detects heavy motion, like in an altercation.

Before incorporating body cameras, Scappoose officers relied on the recorders equipped in their duty vehicles.

To comply with Oregon law, officers must inform people they interact with that they may be recorded.

The cameras have been distributed and are currently in use, according to Miller.

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