Those bus cameras you may assume will protect you, or at least help you prosecute a criminal after the fact, may do neither.PubliCola has learned that when a gunman shot a Metro driver downtown earlier this week and fled onto another Metro bus, both of the cameras that could have recorded the incident were broken.
Metro spokesman Jeff Switzer confirms that due to a "hard drive error" on both cameras, "when we went to retrieve the video ... we were unable to retrieve it. The vendor tried to retrieve the video, and they were unsuccessful."
Switzer did not know if both cameras simply failed to record, or if they recorded but subsequently malfunctioned, making the video impossible to retrieve.
We have a call out to Apollo Video Technology, the Bothell company that provides Metro's cameras; their website promises "industry-leading quality, proven reliability" and "long-lasting performance."
Switzer says King County has launched a review of its bus camera maintenance program to see how often Metro maintenance workers check them to make sure they're working properly, among other things. "We're going to be looking at whether the cameras on the buses are working," Switzer says.
He says the county doesn't know how many bus cameras are broken.
About 40 percent of Metro buses, or about 550, are equipped with cameras.