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Lakewood Police Department gets funding for body-worn cameras

Lakewood police officers will all be wearing body cameras by the beginning of 2022.

LAKEWOOD, Wash. — Lakewood police officers will all be wearing body cameras by the beginning of 2022.

The Lakewood City Council approved the purchase of 80 body cameras, which will make Lakewood the only municipality in Pierce County to equip all marked cars with dash cameras and all officers with body cameras.

A Lakewood police spokesperson said officers are looking forward to the new cameras.

"It holds us all accountable, so I like that, and it is in an interest of transparency," said Lt. Chris Lawler with the Lakewood Police Department. "I think we're saying, 'look at us, we're not hiding, we're not trying to be deceptive.'"

The initial cost is $336,304, but ongoing costs will be $279,292 a year.

"A lot of departments have to find that money or cities have to find that money, and some departments don't have it. It depends upon the size, what your city budget looks like, but thankfully, we're able to get that done this year," Lawler said.

Back in February, dozens of law enforcement agencies across the state were expecting bills to be considered that would make body cameras more accessible to agencies.

However, legislation was more focused on police reform.

Lakewood police are looking forward to the opportunity to let the community see what they do.

"For me, it's a big education piece. I think that people are going to go 'wow, I didn't realize this is what you have to deal with.' Or maybe they see the de-escalation tactics that we are starting to use, and they're like, 'wow that really works,'" said Lawler.