West Fargo Police Department aiming to deploy body worn cameras in early 2023

(Fargo, ND) -- West Fargo Police Chief Denis Otterness says the department is on track to begin using body worn cameras sometime after the first of the year. 

The chief says it's all part of an effort aimed at increasing transparency when it comes to police operations.

"All these things are designed, community engagement programs, are all designed to enhance and increase that mutual respect and trust and provide legitimacy for what we are doing and for what we are asked to do everyday in the city," said Otterness while speaking with News Director Kyle Cornell on WDAY Midday. 

Otterness says the department has applied for a federal grant of up to $160,000 from the Bureau of Justice Assistance to help pay for the body worn cameras. The overall cost for the first year of the program is estimated at roughly $220 thousand dollars. That includes purchasing equipment, hiring staff to run the program, and training.

The move follows similar departments in the area, including the Cass County Sheriff's Office and Fargo Police Department implementing their own programs involving body worn cameras in recent years.