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Tacoma on track to finish deploying police body cameras early

Cranes have become more familiar fixtures of the Tacoma skyline as growth has increased in the City of Destiny in recent years.
Parker Miles Blohm

Tacoma has been outfitting police officers with body-worn cameras since mid-December, with a goal of having all of them deployed by the end of March. Now, the city is on track to finish that process a month early.

The issue got renewed attention following last month’s use of force incident, in which Tacoma police officer Khanh Phan drove his vehicle through a crowd of people, striking six and injuring at least two. Phan was responding to a report of street racing. He was among a group of officers who had not yet received body cameras at the time of the incident.

Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards
Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards

Mayor Victoria Woodards told KNKX the city is on track to meet a new shortened timeline.

"That incident did force us to look at our schedule and see if we could move it up. I am happy to report that our goal — and we are on target to meet our goal — that we will have body cams on every officer by the end of February," Woodards said. 

Woodards said 222 body cameras have been deployed so far and 33 remain.

Tacoma police vehicles do not have dash cameras. Woodards previously told KNKX the city would look into them after body cameras are deployed.

Meanwhile, the city is preparing to begin negotiations with the Tacoma police union, starting March 11. Woodards said what will be different this time is the fact that two community members will be joining the city at the bargaining table. 

Kirsten Kendrick has been hosting Morning Edition on KNKX/KPLU since 2006. She has worked in news radio for more than 30 years. Kirsten is also a sports lover. She handles most sports coverage at the station, including helping produce a two-part series on the 50th anniversary of Title IX and the ongoing series "Going Deep."