Ellensburg Police Department now using body camera technology

David Snyder, News Director/Staff Reporter

The next time you are involved in a traffic stop with an Ellensburg police officer, your interaction will be recorded on video. 

The EPD acquired 42 body cameras, along with eight new in-car camera systems, thanks to a city budget allocation of about $150,000 back in January.

After spending months training officers and building the infrastructure to support this technology, the department started putting it to work just a few weeks ago.

“It’s a pretty big commitment,” EPD Captain Dan Hansberry said. 

A commitment, Hansberry said, that provides EPD officers more accountability and reason to stick to their high standards.

“The public feels like, ‘okay, if I get mistreated by the officer, there’s going to be video evidence of that,” Hansberry said.

That added accountability applies to the public as well. According to Hansberry, officers frequently receive false allegations against them, so the extra set of eyes will provide added protection.

Each officer is assigned a body camera. Department policy requires officers to wear these cameras throughout their shift. However, a camera doesn’t have to be recording unless an officer makes a police-related contact, such as a traffic stop.

If an officer fails to turn on their body camera when they’re supposed to, there are consequences. However, Hansberry said the disciplinary process is circumstantial. With the technology being relatively new to the department, mistakes are inevitably going to happen.

“Of course, like any disciplinary program, it takes into account how many times you didn’t [use the camera],” Hansberry said. “It’s a muscle memory to turn [the camera] on, and it takes a while to develop that.”

The new technology can help mitigate this issue for the officers. The body cameras are linked to the in-car system, which includes both a dash and back seat camera. All the cameras start recording when an officer turns on his, or her, overhead lights.


According to Hansberry, the EPD patrol team fully embraces the body cameras. In fact, they have wanted them for years.

“Our officers haven’t been resistant…it just always came down to the large expense,” Hansberry said. “Once you have these tools, you’re committed to them.”

Officer Christian Alviar said he appreciated how progressive the department was about acquiring the camera system.

“I love it…It holds us to the highest level that our interactions with the community are able to be,” Alviar said.