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SPD deleted thousands of dash-cam videos by accident

The Seattle Police Department says it accidentally deleted more than 2,000 police dash-cam videos. The videos spanned two days of traffic stops and arrests in July. Seattle police and technology staff say there was a glitch in the system that stores dash-cam recordings.

Staff have been able to recover about 3,000 videos, but another 2,280 are completely lost because they were overwritten. The videos were from July 13 and 14.

Police department spokesperson Sean Whitcomb said the loss of dash-cam video shouldn't impact any investigations.

Whitcomb: "It is something that we can rely on to help improve community trust. At the same time it is not the panacea to ensuring that a particular investigation moves forward. Certainly the number one tool that we rely on are the trained officers."

About a quarter of the lost recordings contained evidence of some sort. That included video of 89 arrests, 60 crisis contacts and five very low-level uses of force. Some of those arrests are listed on the SPD’s blog, here and here.

Whitcomb said the police department is working to ensure that the technological glitch is not repeated. He said staff were working to find the cause of the problem up until Monday night, which is why they didn't say anything until now.