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.


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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There ought to be a law against city land grabbing

What if you owned 4 1/2 acres in Palo Alto and you wanted to sell it, is there anything wrong with selling your own property?  Yes. It turns out, some property can’t be sold unless local politicians say it’s OK.

For example, according to Palo Alto City Council and Santa Clara County Supervisors, Joe Simitian and David Cortese, they know what to do with your property and your money, better than you do.

In the case of Palo Alto’s last mobile home park, Buena Vista, the City of Palo Alto will not let the owner, Joe Jisser, sell his own property because years of inside deals, mismanagement, favoritism, a high tech boom, gigantic wealth creation and poor planning have created a low income housing shortage.

Too bad we’re not more like Detroit. But who wants to live in Detroit?

‘There ought to be a law’

Would you like to live on the Champ de Elysee in Paris or maybe a little spot on the beach in Bermuda? Why not a two bedroom in the Tech capital of the world, Palo Alto? These are all nice spots, but alas, rents are high.

So according to Supervisors SImitian and Cortese, someone else should pay for you to live wherever you want. As Joe Simitian is fond of saying, ‘there ought to be a law.’

And it turns out there is a law that’s legally extorting money and property from the ‘Palo Alto mobile home park owner,’ Joe Jisser. Even though he has already offered residents between $ 31,000 – 56,000 for their mobile homes and also offered to pay residents 100 % of the difference between their rent at Beuena Vista and their next home for a year, according to Palo Alto City Council and Joe Simitian, that’s not enough.

According to ‘law,’ the Palo Alto City Council has to think about it and see if they can find a way to be even more generous with Joe Jisser’s money and land.

Simitian and Cortese put your money and land where their mouth is

Here’s a better idea. Why don’t Palo Alto City Council members and Supervisors Joe Simitian and Dave Cortese donate their own homes to low income people? Why should these politicians live in nice houses when there are so many needy people in Santa Clara County? Will Joe Simitian and Dave Cortese lead by example and donate their property?

Will they respect the property rights of Joe Jisser and let him sell his own land? Or will they put other people’s money, where their mouth is?

Way to many laws

There are too many laws today. Eric Garner was killed by NYC police for selling one cigarette.   This crime of ‘tax evasion’ was prompted by the high Tax Laws passed by NY legislators.

Police are armed to enforce the law.  Break the law and if you resist arrest, the cops may kill you.  It’s their job.

Never support a law unless you are willing to kill for it, because sometimes, that’s exactly what happens.

Legal scholar Douglas Husak, in his excellent 2009 book “Overcriminalization: The Limits of the Criminal Law,” points out that federal law alone includes more than 3,000 crimes, fewer than half of which are found in the Federal Criminal Code. The rest are scattered through other statutes.

A citizen who wants to abide by the law has no quick and easy way to find out what the law actually is — a violation of the traditional principle that the state cannot punish without fair notice.

In addition to these statutes, he writes, an astonishing 300,000 or more federal regulations may be enforceable through criminal punishment in the discretion of an administrative agency. Nobody knows the number for sure.

Husak cites estimates that more than 70 percent of American adults have committed a crime that could lead to imprisonment.

We are moving toward “a world in which the law on the books makes everyone a felon.”  Example:  More than half of young people today download music illegally from the Internet. That’s been a federal crime for 20 years. These kids, in theory, could all go to prison.

In Silicon Vally, County Supervisor Joe Simitian often uses the catchphrase, ‘there ought to be a law.’   Call or write to him and he’ll do what he can to make someone a criminal.

People have a hard time obeying the Ten Commandments.   Thou shalt not murder.  Thou shalt not steal.  Why would  300,000 more laws be any better ?  Instead of more laws, maybe we need wise Judges and honest lawyers.