HERMISTON, Ore. -- Hermiston police are answering calls with a new gadget on their holsters, and they said they're using this new technology to build trust in the community.
Body camera footage showed what a Hermiston police officer saw while responding to a house alarm.
“If we're not willing to hold ourselves accountable, we're not doing what the public expects of us,” said Chief of Police Jason Edmiston.
The officer's body camera turned with him--showing exactly what he was seeing in those moments.
“It's so simple, yet ingenious that they came up with this,” Edmiston said, holding the small, plastic device in his hands.
Hermiston police said they've been using body cameras since 2015--but this is something new.
“I don't have to worry about hitting the button to turn the camera on,” he said.
All 17 officers now carry an Axon Signal Sidearm—a sensor that attaches to their gun holster and signals to their body cameras to automatically start recording whenever they pull their gun out of the holster.
“I would much rather have our officers focused on what's in front of them than worrying about pushing a button to turn a camera on,” Edmiston said.
Police said it's a smarter way to be transparent.
“It can be a very challenging profession--people can be very quick to judge.”
Chief Edmiston said they've already seen success when there was recent incident with a person in crisis, they could share their side with a witness.
“She saw something different, and I was able to show her the footage of what truly transpired,” he said.
And if multiple officers are on the scene, the sensor creates a bubble around whoever pulls out a gun.
Once a weapon is drawn, the Signal Sidearm will automatically start recording all nearby body cameras.
“In the heat of the moment you forget to push your button,” Officer Derrick Williams said.
“To either show us where we've done good or where we can make improvements is critical for any organization that wants to grow and learn from past mistakes,” Edmiston said.
Police said the body cam and automatic sensor will give them peace of mind and hold them and the community accountable
Hermiston police said they review each show of force and use of force, and they are spending $2,000 per year to equip all of their officers with the Signal Sidearm.