Report: DC police didn’t use body cameras in 1/3 of complaints

WASHINGTON — All D.C. police patrol officers have been wearing body cameras since last December, but an annual review of police complaints finds one-third of the time, officers didn’t turn them on. 

D.C.’s Office of Police Complaints published the instances of noncompliance in its annual report.

“When we looked at it, it was really the first six to nine months of the full deployment within MPD and the patrol division, so it really doesn’t surprise me that much,” said Director Michael Tobin.

It is too soon to call it concerning, he said, but he’s eager to compare the data to the same time next year, when officers have had more time to get comfortable with the technology in their daily routines.

“Then I’ll be more confident in saying that either a trend is developing here or not,” Tobin said.

Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck said in a statement, “MPD takes the failure to activate a camera very seriously, and we have worked with our officers who have readily accepted this technology to ensure that the cameras are activated when necessary.”

Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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