Bellevue’s streets are getting a high-tech upgrade as the Bellevue Police Department introduces new tasers and body-worn cameras to its patrol officers. Beginning this month, this initiative aims to enhance transparency, accountability, and safety within the community.
The department’s rollout plan includes launching a patrol officer body camera program featuring ‘AXON Body 4’ body cameras and upgrading equipment to ‘Taser 10’ tasers. Officers are currently undergoing training with the Taser 10 tasers, with over 200 of these new devices expected to be in the hands of officers by the end of February. Meanwhile, a select group of patrol officers will be field testing the AXON body cameras in early February, with full deployment to the entire team slated for completion by the end of March.
The AXON Body 4 body cameras offer features including high-definition recording, improved low-light performance, and a wider field of view compared to most police body cameras currently in use. Notably, these cameras also feature two-way communication capabilities, allowing for seamless audio and video interactions between officers and command centers, thereby enhancing real-time situational awareness and response coordination.
The introduction of Taser 10 tasers represents an update to the department’s less-lethal options. These state-of-the-art devices boast enhanced accuracy, range, safety protocols, and an intuitive interface, ensuring effective responses to incidents while prioritizing the safety of all parties involved.
Key features of the Taser 10 tasers include a 45-foot range—more than twice the range of tasers currently used by BPD officers—audible and visual warning alerts, and individually targeted probes for precision deployment, regardless of distance, reducing the risk of injury to officers or subjects.
“The Bellevue Police Department remains steadfast in its commitment to utilizing technology that fosters public safety, transparency, and trust within the community,” said Bellevue Police Chief Wendell Shirley. “The implementation of AXON Body 4 body cameras and Taser 10 tasers underscores our dedication to providing top-tier service and maintaining the highest standards of professionalism, and we are thankful to our partners in the community who helped make this equipment purchase a reality.”
The integration of body-worn cameras into Bellevue’s police department equipment is the culmination of years of preparation and community engagement. The department actively involved the community and its Police Advisory Councils throughout 2021, providing information about the technology on EngagingBellevue and the department website. Additionally, the use of body cameras for officers was among the recommendations put forth by the independent review agency OIR, following the mayor’s commitment to review the city’s police use of force policies in 2020.