Good news for those who favor more more transparency in law enforcement: the Chelan County Sheriff's Office has obtained $660,000 in federal funding. The funds are to be invested in body-worn camera technology.

These investment dollars were secured by Congresswoman Kim Schrier (D-WA) through a Community Project Funding request. Schrier, a career pediatrician from Sammamish, has represented Washington's 8th congressional district since 2019.

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But as Schrier herself would doubtless concede, this was very much a team effort. It demanded painstaking coordination between the Sheriff's Office and Schrier's congressional office, and even then, the CPF process was no picnic.

"That application went through quite a lengthy screening at the federal level," says Sheriff Mike Morrison. "It was eventually approved by the president at the end of last year. We kind of had to wait for the federal government to actually finalize their overall budget; that always seems to be a sticking point."

"We did have to go through another application process, which was non-competitive. We just completed our application last month. Now we're hoping that those funds on the federal level will come on-line here this year."

If that weren't enough, the Sheriff's Office also lobbied - successfully - for a grant from the Washington Associations of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs. The WASPC grant has a fleeting shelf life, says Morrison; it expires at the end of the month.

Body cameras are increasingly a mainstay of policing in this country - and for good reason. Morrison says the cameras are provably beneficial to police-community relations.

"It cuts down the questions the public has in regard to how we're doing our job," Morrison says. "It adds to transparency. It protects the citizen as well."

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