Published January 31 2024
Officers to be trained and equipped with new gear in phased approach starting in February
Community members in Bellevue will soon see new tasers and body-worn cameras on patrol officers in the city as the Bellevue Police Department integrates new high-tech gear into its law enforcement practices. The department is launching a patrol officer body camera program using ‘AXON Body 4’ cameras and an equipment upgrade to ‘Taser 10’ tasers in early 2024. These advanced tools are expected to bolster transparency, accountability and safety within the Bellevue community.
Officers are being trained this month with the new tasers and BPD anticipates adding more than 200 Taser 10s to officers’ equipment resources by the end of February. Also, a select group of patrol officers will be field-testing the body cameras in early February. BPD anticipates deploying the cameras among the full team of commissioned patrol officers by the end of March.
The AXON Body 4 body cameras bring an array of advanced features to Bellevue, including high-definition recording capabilities, improved low-light performance and an expanded field of view compared with most police body cameras in use today. Notably, these cameras boast a two-way communication feature, facilitating seamless audio and video interactions between officers and command centers, while enhancing real-time situational awareness and response coordination.
The introduction of Taser 10 tasers represents a significant update to the department's less-lethal options. These state-of-the-art devices incorporate enhanced accuracy, range, safety protocols and an intuitive interface, ensuring effective responses to incidents while prioritizing the safety of all involved parties. Features of the Taser 10 tasers include:
- 45-foot range. This is more than twice the range of tasers currently being carried by BPD officers. This increased range will allow for more time and space for officers to attempt to de-escalate and resolve conflicts.
- Audible and visual warning alert. A bright pulsing light and loud sound emit whenever the weapon’s warning alert is initiated, allowing the user to de-escalate without deploying cartridges.
- Individually targeted probes. Unlike previous models, the Taser 10 features single probe deployment, which allows Officers to place each taser probe with precision and accuracy regardless of their distance to the subject. Users can choose a safe target area on the person at any distance, reducing the chances of injuries to the officer or subject.
“The Bellevue Police Department remains steadfast in its commitment to utilizing technology that fosters public safety, transparency and trust within the community,” said 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 Bellevue Police Foundation contributed to the purchase of this new gear through a donation to Bellevue Police. The foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit whose mission is to foster community support to fund equipment purchases, training and public recognition for officers in Bellevue.
The addition of body-worn cameras to Bellevue’s police department equipment is the culmination of years of preparation. The department engaged the community and its police advisory councils in 2021 and offered additional information about the technology on EngagingBellevue and the police page. In addition, use of body cameras for officers was one of the recommendations submitted by an independent review agency OIR after the mayor pledged to review the city’s police use of force policies in 2020.