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West Valley City • Police Chief Lee Russo recommended to the City Council this week that the department adopt the use of body cameras for its officers.

In coming weeks, if the council agrees, Russo will submit a formal issue paper and recommend formalizing a contract with Taser Axon.

Russo said Tuesday evening he hopes the council will support the purchasing of body cameras in West Valley City to help increase accountability, transparency and professionalism among officers in the department.

"There's been a number of national-level incidents that demonstrate the need for and utility of these new devices," Russo said just hours after a grand jury's decision not to indict the officer who shot 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., set off a series of protests nationwide.

Utah's second-largest city has had its own cases in which video evidence of a police-officer involved shooting could have provided useful information. In the highest-profile instance, then-West Valley City police detective Shaun Cowley shot and killed an unarmed drug suspect, Danielle Willard, when she was attempting to flee officers on Nov. 2, 2012. Cowley, who insisted the shooting was an act of self defense because he feared Willard's car would hit him, was charged with criminal manslaughter. A judge last month dismissed the case after a preliminary hearing.

At the council study session this week, video footage showcasing the differences between chest-mounted and head-mounted cameras was provided to council members. The head-mounted cameras provided better footage and allowed those watching to see what the officer would see. The chest-mounted camera wouldn't provide the same quality video and when Russo asked the council which it would prefer, all agreed the head-mounted cameras were a better choice.

Russo also explained that when a West Valley City resident files a complaint against an officer, the body cameras would allow for simpler, more timely investigations.

"When we get these allegations or complaints, we can quickly dispel them,' Russo said. "These [body cameras] will dramatically reduce the man hours that we spend investigating complaints."

If West Valley City chooses to buy body cameras for its officers, it would need to hire a maintenance team to take care of any issues that the equipment would have, such as charging, operability and uploads or downloads.

Russo hopes that the council will support the proposal and clear the way for a contract and acquisition of the equipment by January.

No decisions were made during Tuesday's study session, and time will be set aside in future meetings for questions and discussion. But Councilman Corey Rushton expressed his support for the plan and said he hopes the council will back the change.