Santa Clara County sheriff’s will be equipped with body cameras

All Santa Clara County sheriffs deputies and correctional officers will be outfitted with body worn cameras following a unanimous vote by the board of supervisors.

Supervisor Joe Simitian, who represents Palo Alto and the North County, first proposed the use of the cameras in 2014, after the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

“We can watch with anguish what’s happened in other communities around the country, shake our heads, and then move on, “Simitian said this week. “Or, we can accept the responsibility to do something. ”

The idea of getting the body worn cameras by jail officers surfaced following the death of an inmate in 2015, according to a release from Simitian.

The cameras can protect the public from officer misconduct, protect officers against false complaints by the public and help restore trust and confidence in police, Samitian said.

A 16 month long study conducted by Rialto showed a more than 50% reduction in the use of force by police officers wearing cameras, and a nearly 90% drop in citizen complaints of police misconduct.

The board of supervisors voted Tuesday to purchase and deploy body worn cameras, and by the end of this year, an estimated 1,142 officers will be outfitted with them, according to Simitian.

The first shipment of cameras will arrive sometime in early February, and from their officers will need to be trained. The cameras will hit the streets in late February or early March. The county is purchasing the cameras from Taser International Inc., which is based in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Other agencies

More law enforcement agencies around the country and in the bay area have been deploying body worn cameras. In Palo Alto, police captain. Zach Perron said, the department will be getting its 10 demo cameras from the company WatchGuard, which could happen as early as next week.

Once the department tests fees and determines whether the cameras meet officers need, Perrone said, the department will equip all officers with body worn cameras. “There is no set time frame, “he said of purchasing cameras for all officers. “Could be a couple of months or longer. ”

All Mountain View police officers have been wearing the cameras for more than a year, said police spokesman Katie Nelson.

Ahead of the pack

And Los Altos started even sooner. The city began a pilot program starting in 2009, and now, all 31 sworn officers where cameras, said police chief Andy Galea.

In San Mateo County, the sheriffs office doesn’t yet have a plan for putting cameras on its 550 sworn officers.

But in November, Redwood city Council approved a plan to equip all of the cities 96 sworn police officers with body worn cameras by December 29, 2017, according to city officials.

Redwood City is just one of the departments in San Mateo County getting cameras for police. In May, San Mateo County County civil grand jury released a report recommending that all police agencies within the county come up with plans for officer worn body cameras.

Accountability

Cameras could make police more accountable and footage could be useful as evidence in court cases, according to the grand jury’s report. San Mateo and Burlingame police are aiming to rule out body cameras by October. Atherton, Belmont, Foster City, Hillsboro and Menlo Park are the five towns and cities in the county that had body worn cameras before the civil grand jury’s report.

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3 Replies to “Santa Clara County sheriff’s will be equipped with body cameras”

  1. From my Personal Achives:

    Equal access needed

    Editor,

    A recent article in the Daily Post (“cop car cams fight crime, “December 27-28) provoked me to do some thinking about the public’s right to access police videos. The updated video system that the Palo Alto Police Department has recently purchased, and are now using in their patrol cars, sounds excellent.

    It is great that the updated video equipment allows for the wider and more accurate capture of activity by alleged criminals, as well as the police. Moreover it is important that the tapes content can be accessed by defense attorneys representing someone charged with a crime, pursuant to criminal law discovery practice.

    However, if a citizen is not arrested and charged with a crime, but still believes they have been abused, beaten or in some other fashion treated unfairly by the police, there is no policy in place to allow the videos to be viewed by the complaining party, police watchdogs or representatives of the press.

    Notwithstanding the fact that the police can release a video as evidence that they have been falsely accused of police misconduct, the alleged victim of police abuse has no equal right to demand access to the tapes.

    Gaps in the California Public records act, and special protections afforded by the peace officers bill of rights, must be closed to ensure public access to this valuable tool.

    The same legal dilemma will apply to the use of body worn cameras, when the PAPD implements them in the future.

    The lack of a firm policy allowing full access to police videos undercuts the credibility of the video program.

    It leaves the public feeling manipulated and mistrustful of the police. With a more equal policy in place, we can ensure that Paulo alto takes a leadership role in police transparency and community police relations.

  2. Former PAPD officer says Aram James is a fraud. He knows that his friend Dennis Burns has destroyed video and other evidence on numerous occasions in numerous cases yet Mr. James says nothing about these incidents. Major warning to anybody in the community who comes to Aram James for help, DO NOT TRUST HIM, HE IS NOT YOUR FRIEND.

  3. Gary, thanks for commenting. The beauty of Palo Alto Free Press is that you can say anything you want within reason including your unhappiness with Aram James. Its your 1st Amendment right. Unlike the Palo Alto Weekly and its on-line version paloaloonline.com

    Shocking Censorship Data by Paloaltoonline.com revealed

    http://paloaltofreepress.com/shocking-censorship-data-by-paloaltoonline-com-revealed/

    They make it a practice and policy of censoring / spinning the most innocuous and benign comments to fit the story line as noted above. Their form of debate and democracy has been cast to the wind as fodder.

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