San Jose mustered up at least some of the money it needs to buy body cameras for police officers, so they can record their interactions with the public.
About $432,000 of a state-given grant will pay for the equipment, which the San Jose Police Department expects to put to use by January, according to a motion up for consideration at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
The city formed a committee earlier this year to study how to implement officer-worn cameras and how to fund them. Independent police auditor LaDoris Cordell has been pushing for body cameras for years, arguing that they will help collect valuable data that could make the job easier for patrol officers.
Cameras will also help confirm or counter accusations of racial bias, Cordell says. Some residents have said for years that the agency disproportionately stops Latino and black people. Officers began filling out reports for each pedestrian and traffic stop to document the race and ethnicity of each subject, but video footage would eliminate the need for that paperwork.
Naturally, the idea has raised privacy concerns from police groups as law enforcement agencies across the nation continue to experiment with the technology. Recordings could capture private conversations between partners or moments on break if officers forget to turn it off.
But footage could also save the SJPD money by protecting it from false claims against officers. Often, complaints go unresolved for lack of evidence and could lead to lawsuits and expensive settlements.
SJPD expects to come up with a deployment plan by November, after months of testing and research.
More from the San Jose City Council agenda for March 25, 2014:
- The city expects more than $30,000 in lease revenue from its six aquatic facilities.
- Councilman Xavier Campos aims to make the screening of a Cesar Chavez biopic a city-sponsored event. There’s also a city-sponsored march coming up to honor the life and legacy of the labor organizer.
- Mayor Chuck Reed plans to join some of his colleagues for the Silicon Valley Leadership Group’s annual visit to the nation’s capitol.
- Police dispatchers may get more overtime, if the city updates its labor agreement to include paid time off as time worked.
- The successor to the Redevelopment Agency (RDA) expects to save $581,000 by extending the terms of letters of credit for revenue bonds issued in 1996 and 2003.
WHAT: City Council meets
WHEN: 1:30pm Tuesday
WHERE: City Hall, 200 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose
INFO: City Clerk, 408.535.1260