Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that all uniformed patrol officers in the city are now equipped with body cameras, completing a rollout that started small in 2014 and grew to become one of the mayor’s signature programs, the Washington Post reports. Bowser said 2,600 cameras are deployed throughout the District, attached to officers’ collars or shirts. The mayor said the Washington “leads the nation” with the highest number of officers with body cameras. Interim Police Chief Peter Newsham told officers that the program is successful in large part because officers supported it. “You all wanted to wear these body cameras,” he said.
Over the past two years, police in Washington have recorded more than 500,000 videos with 100,000 hours of footage. In addition, officials said the force is part of an academic study reviewing the impact of the cameras on policing. Officials also used the announcement to promote crime statistics that show an 8 percent drop in violent crime compared with this time in 2015. As of Dec. 14, homicides were down 17 percent, from 155 as of this date in 2015 to 128 so far this year. Police said that this year, robberies are down 13 percent, burglaries down 16 percent and car thefts down 16 percent. Assaults with dangerous weapons, which includes shootings, are down 4 percent.