Registered Agency Profile: Yamhill Oregon Police Department

yamhill pd patch

Registered Agency Profile: Yamhill Oregon Police Department

Agency Donation Effort Contact: Kim Steele

Link: Department Website

Number of Officers: 5

Body Camera Goal: 5

Click here to donate to this department.

Registration Statement: The Yamhill Police Department is committed to providing the highest quality police service by involving the community in problem solving, enhancing public safety with respect to the Constitutional Rights of all citizens. We work in collaboration with the community and strive to maintain the utmost level of public safety with the goal of maintaining the quality of life expected within the City of Yamhill. We provide our service with a commitment to cultivating the public trust by respecting individual rights and striving to be fair, just and responsive to the needs and feelings of our community – Chief Graven.

Why has your department decided to start a body camera program?
Chief Graven:  Body worn cameras are an excellent resource for law enforcement to assist us in our job performance, allowing us an excellent tool that documents our interaction with citizens of our community. The Yamhill Police Department is a small department with a limited budget making it difficult to purchase this technology. We have three full-time and two part-time officers. I am interested in the purchase of at least five body worn cameras to better enable my organization to document events.

How do you believe a body camera program will benefit your officers, department as a whole and the community?
Chief Graven:  This technology will provide an independent view of the interaction/action that a police officer has with the community. It also offers a platform by which we can instruct our officers on how to improve their citizen contacts, and is a ready source of documentation for the investigation of complaints. My officers recognize the importance of accountability and they are also very appreciative when complaints against them are able to be dismissed by their body worn camera documentation, ultimately strengthen the agency and the services we provide to the public. We have a good relationship with our community, but having body worn cameras will show that we are increasing our safety for the public as well as our officers. The body worn camera program will help build a rapport with our community by continuing to offer transparency. This program also reminds everyone that they are being recorded (police or citizens), which in turn can ensure that everyone acts in a professional manner to each other. The body worn camera program will be an excellent resource to take what might otherwise be perception and hearsay into the arena of incontrovertible fact.

Are there any situations where having body camera video evidence would have made a difference in court cases or complaints against your officers?
Chief Graven: I have been informed by my officers that there have been inquiries made in court by both the Deputy District Attorney as well as defense attorney’s inquiring if there was any form of audio/video documentation of the incident. I feel that utilizing the body worn camera program will be an excellent resource to provide documentation, evidence and testimony to the facts of the case. When an officer receives a complaint from a citizen I feel that if there is a video recording of the incident that can be provided to the officer and the citizen the facts will be less disputable as to what exactly took place.

Does your department have guidelines for a body camera policy? If so, what would the policy be? When would officers be required to record, etc.?
Chief Graven: With so much attention being paid to body worn cameras, we have received a lot of thoughtful feedback on our policy recommendations and we currently have a six-page Body Worn Video Policy in place that outlines policy, protocol and procedure. It was my goal to have all of my officers wearing body worn cameras when the policy was implemented in 2015; however, with our limited budget I have been unable to make the necessary purchase at this time.