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City Of Washington Police Chief Says He Wants Body Cameras Before A Review Board

WASHINGTON, Pa. (KDKA) - The union for the City of Washington Police Department is asking for body cameras for all of its officers.

The Fraternal Order of Police president said he doesn't think a police review board is necessary but says body cameras are and would like to get them before a police review board is seated. The City of Washington police chief said body cameras will help to build a strong relationship between officers and the community.

"I think they're great because they let you see what's going on," said Washington resident Dana Willias.

Dana Willias is one of several Washington residents KDKA's Amy Waas spoke with who is in full support of the police force getting body cameras.

"It keeps them accountable. It makes everybody a bit safer. They can't just abuse power. They have to do their job properly and appropriately," said Washington resident Jonah Wright.

The mayor said he's been talking with the police chief about body cameras for years.

"There was some hesitation by police at the time and something came about more in the last six months," said City of Washington Mayor Scott Putnam.

The police chief said cameras not only protect officers, but also the public.

That's why he wants cameras for his force and dashcams for cruisers too.

President of the NAACP Washington Branch Andrew Goudy, the man behind the push for a citizen police review board, said he doesn't see why the FOP president can't be for both.

"I don't think it's an either-or situation. He wants those before a board is seated. I don't know if there's any relationship there. We can get a board seated and go for the body cameras," said Goudy.

The mayor said he's willing to hear out the FOP and all of their concerns, specifically with the review board and next steps for body cameras.

He said he's been looking into funding sources to make the cameras possible.

"I know the DA's office has some grant opportunities potentially. We will look for other funding sources internally and potentially other grant sources," said Putnam.

In the meantime, residents said the city needs to consider all options.

"They always should have a review board no matter what and body cameras are just an extra thing so I think they should have both," said Willias.

The mayor said the FOP formed a committee with the council and the NAACP and will be meeting in the coming weeks to discuss the review board and other options.

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