San Jose Police Chief Sets Key Dates for Body Camera Rollout

San Jose Police Chief Larry Esquivel drafted a memo laying out the timeline for the department's body camera program. There have been frequent delays in getting to this point, but Esquivel suggests the program should begin a full rollout by June 30, 2016.

"The Field Testing Phase will test three body worn camera products for a period of three months at no cost to the City, as the vendors have agreed to allow the City to test their products," Esquivel wrote. "The three body camera products are: Taser Axon, Taser Flex, and the VieVu LE3. A total of 12 sworn staff, which include Patrol Officers, may include some members of the Special Operations Unit, and technical staff from the Police and Information Technology Departments, will evaluate the different products (e.g., ease of use, amount of time spent working with cameras and downloading data, quality of results, evidence management, etc.). The results of the field-testing phase will be evaluated and assessed. The Department will then begin the procurement process, which could take up to six months to complete."

Any decision will require approval from the City Council, which is expected to occur between February 1 and March 30 of next year. While the cameras are expected to provide greater accountability regarding police interaction with the public, the videos are not considered part of investigative records and will be excluded from the public record in almost all cases. Below are the key dates.

2015-2016 General Timeline- Body Worn Program

  • May/June: Vendor and IT set-up; identify a full-time project team; identify volunteers for the BWC field-testing phase.
  • Beginning of July: Vendor training on policy and equipment (1-2 days).
  • July 19th - October 11th: Field test all three body cameras; four weeks per body camera.
  • October 11th - October 30th: Field-testing evaluation and analysis; policy revisions and recommendations by the policy team (IPA, DA’s Office, IT Staff, etc.); POA meet and confer.
  • November 1st – January 30th: Procurement process; work with City Purchasing Department.
  • February 1st – March 30th: Award the vendor contract; City Council approval; Department to start working with the selected vendor.

19 Comments

  1. Who are they kidding? “…the videos are not considered part of investigative records and will be excluded from the public record”. What !?! The video will not be part of the investigation?!? What imbecile made that fatuous statement?

    There is no way on God’s green earth that a videotape made during a criminal investigation, and that will undoubtedly and unavoidably present a material fact (which is just about anything) can be legally excluded from ANY investigation. Even if the video is later suppressed by the court, the video will still be part of the investigative case file until the time of the disposition of the case and all potential appeals has expired. The only way the video can avoid being eventually released is for a court to order that it be sealed and even that is appeal-able to a higher court.

    Let’s forget about the stupidity of believing that the video is not material evidence in any criminal, civil or administrative investigation. What about the victim? Are the police supposed to go into the home of a sexual assault victim, photograph her with her clothes torn, hysterical or sobbing, for all the world to recognize, or to photograph her house in enough detail that anyone who knows her will likely recognize the interior of the house by way of the decor, the photos on the mantelpiece etc.and further add to her humiliation once the video is inevitably released.

    Suppose the police respond on a domestic violence call which occurs between a gay couple, where one or both of the parties are not yet ready to be “outed” on a police investigative video camera? My friends, if any statements are captured or any evidence depicted on that domestic violence video, it IS evidence, and is therefore part of the investigative case file, subject to discovery, and only a complete ignoramus would not understand that.

    What if the call is of a suicidal victim who has to be talked down but who will now be set up for humiliation by being recorded and photographed on video at one of the lowest or most desperate moments of their life? This latter might possibly be kept confidential since suicide is non-criminal matter but even that is not a sure thing, particularly if the victim makes a desperate statement threatening to kill someone else when released, or has a pot plant on the kitchen counter.

    Allowing officers to decide when to turn the camera off and on will create its own set of problems. Undoubtedly officers will be accused of doing something improper before turning the camera on or turning it off before doing something else improper. While not a perfect solution, this might be the only workable alternative if body-cams are to be required.

    This is just another case of “submissive urination” by the Chief and the City Council as they squat down after hearing the latest barking of the activist hyenas. I think the officers can live with an unpopular policy, if it is presented honestly, but what they won’t abide is a Department policy that promises to do something it can’t possibly and legally do. That body-cam footage IS evidence. The line officers, those most affected by bad policy know it, just as they know that the Chief is lying to them about it.

    Goodbye, proactive enforcement. Hello Baltimore.

    • JSR:

      I recall an actual case from a number of years back that — if my facts are correct — makes your case.

      Police were called to a house in Morgan Hill or Gilroy in response to an ANONYMOUS report of domestic violence.

      Officers went to the front door, rang the doorbell, and asked to enter. The resident, not knowing what the purpose of the visit was, obliged.

      The officers noted a firearm displayed on a gun rack in prominent view.

      After the incident, the authorities ordered the resident to surrender his guns, and had them removed from his possession.

      This is apparently because the law on domestic violence prohibits the possession of firearms by people ACCUSED of or reported to be involved in domestic violence.

      This is very troubling, because it is the complete suspension of a constitutional right based on: 1.) anonymous accusation, and obtaining evidence without a warrant.

      My understanding is that the resident would have been completely within his rights to refuse entry of the officers into his residence without a warrant.

      If you can confirm that is scenario is accurate, I think you have a very strong argument that will cause a lot of people to think long and hard about allowing police officers to be used as roving spycams,

      • Mr. SJOUTSIDETHEBUBBLE

        I recall something of the case to which you refer but I don’t recall the specifics. However, without turning this into a 2nd Amendment debate ( most cops I know are strong 2nd Amendment supporters by the way), I believe the law to which you refer is 12028.5 of the Penal Code.

        “The police at the scene of family violence, involving a threat to human life or physical assault, may take temporary custody of any firearm or deadly weapon in plain sight or by consensual search for the protection of the peace officer or other persons present. The police may retain the weapons up to 72 hours unless the weapons were seized as evidence or for an additional crime”.

        Notice there must be a (credible) threat to life or a physical assault, not just an anonymous call of “I think they’re fighting next door” and the time the police can hold firearms so seized is a maximum of 72 hours. As well, without turning this into a legal debate over the 4th Amendment, there are certain cases under which the police can enter a dwelling without a warrant, most often if there is some sort of articulable exigency or evidence in plain view.

        More to the point though is this scenario: Late at night a female caller, living alone, phones in a report of a possible prowler looking through the windows of her residence. The officers respond, with their body-cams rolling, and meet the female at the front door. She describes what she saw of the suspect’s appearance and his last direction of travel. Perhaps she has been drinking a bit, she is wearing a skimpy negligee, and her bathrobe gapes open while she is talking. While any polite officer would look away and suggest she check her robe, the body-cam captures the “full view”. The cops catch the pervert hiding in the backyard. He is a 3rd striker registered sex offender so he goes to trial with nothing to lose. Now, the police body-cam will undoubtedly be shown as evidence in open court, much to the victim’s embarrassment. Perhaps instead of a trial, the district attorney allows the pervert to plead guilty to a lesser charge (doubtful but possible) and another pervert is turned loose on the street sooner than he should or might otherwise be.

        Cases of “exposed victims” or their “unflattering behavior” are common. Ask any cop who has worked a lot of night shifts. When cops don’t have the discretion on what is recorded on the body-cam, there are going to be a lot of embarrassed victims and reluctant witnesses. How is the public, with the exception of racist activists with chips on their shoulders and cop-hating agendas, like former IPA Cordell and the Al Sharptons of the world, going to be better served by police body-cams?

        Police body-cams should be nothing more than an investigative tool available for cops to use at their discretion rather than a way to capture images that will be heavily edited to make the cops look like brutes and act as merchandise items for race traders. Unfortunately, after seeing the chief and the City Council puddle themselves as they quiver at the feet of race merchants, I believe the latter will be the likeliest result

        • > The police may retain the weapons up to 72 hours unless the weapons were seized as evidence or for an additional crime”.

          I’m no loy-yah, but this says to me that an officer can respond to an anonymous call alleging domestic violence, find a squabbling couple, take the man into custody (because of the nature of the call), file a charge of domestic violence, and — poof — guns disappear.

          Months later, the charges are dropped, but since the man was CHARGED with domestic violence, the guns are not returned.

          Bottom line: ANONYMOUS report of domestic violence + “consensual” entry into home + body cam + unsupported charges = gun confiscation.

          • Moral of the story. Never let them into your home unless required by warrant. If you have a speaker phone for your entrance do not open the door.

          • Mr. Roy,

            I like your speaker phone idea. It protects you not just from potential unlawful government intrusion, for which you expressed concern, but from door-to-door salesman and pesky proselytizers as well. The situation is different when the police respond to your house.

            Contrary to what you might be reading in the alarmist, “Police State Apocalypse” magazines to which you apparently subscribe, this is not Stalinist Russia or Hitler’s Germany and jack-boots are still not authorized by the SJPD Uniform specs. The cops don’t just drive around trying to search people’s houses at random. In San Jose there are not even enough cops to respond to the calls for service that they get now, much less to go around randomly picking on people.

            THE COPS DON”T WANT TO GO INTO YOUR HOUSE! They have no idea what they’re going to find; what they’ll have to deal with; whether or not they’ll be attacked or spit on by some junkie with hepatitis and ulcerated sores on his arms, or what kind of obscene diatribe they will endure once they arrive. They have no idea what has happened in there, what type of scene of violent savagery they might find in there; how many people are in there; How those people, possibly violent, are going to react to sudden police presence; who might jump out at them from a darkened corner or back bedroom or who might let slip their ravenous, slavering Pit Bull-hellhound hybrid who will greet them the second the door is opened.

            The cops will respond to your house due to a call for service. Let’s stay with the domestic violence example. The call that comes in is that of a violent argument that ends abruptly, maybe with a thud or glass breakage; or maybe just a loud argument. It might be an act of violence, then again it might not. The cops have to respond and they are duty bound (and even morally required) to investigate to determine if a crime has been committed and whether or not there are injured victims, or even injured suspects, there who need help before they bleed to death. Under the exigency exception to search without warrant, police are authorized then to enter a residence. (We don’t have space for a 4th amendment, Supreme Court case law discussion here). The police will likely have to check around inside the premises, yard, parked cars etc. to ensure no victim is bleeding to death, hurt, being held against their will or been the victim of a violent crime. Police are only authorized to check areas where victims are likely to be found, such as bedrooms, closets, car trunks, etc., but not smaller places such as dresser drawers, book shelves, jewelry boxes etc. That’s it. While doing this, they are also authorized to seize evidence or contraband in plain view. Here’s some news: THE COPS DON”T WANT TO FIND ANYTHING! They don’t want to find some bloodied up woman or a kid with his head bashed, or blood on the floor or the pot plants you have in your garage. It’s just makes more work for them. They would rather come in, look in the bedroom and closets, talk to anyone else there, learn that no one is hurt, that there is no blood smeared on the wall, no dead body, and no one duct taped in the closet.

            Again, THE COPS DON”T WANT TO COME TO YOUR HOUSE; THEY DON”T WANT TO GO INTO YOUR HOUSE AND THEY DON”T WANT TO FIND ANYTHING IN YOUR HOUSE! The problem is, if there is an indication that someone might be hurt, police may have no choice. People can bleed to death in under 5 minutes and it takes at least an hour (and that’s in the perfect world of Fantasy Land) and more likely several hours to get a search warrant. If someone breaks into your house, shoots, beats or stabs you, your wife and your kids, and your neighbor hears it and calls the police, do you want the cops to wait and call the coroner instead of an ambulance? That may sound dramatic but for cryin-out-loud it’s not uncommon for people to be injured by violence in their homes or even to have an “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” moment (That scream and the thud was grandma as she fell down the stairs with her walker and oxygen tank trailing).

            My suggestion would be this, if the cops come to your house: Flush all your dope down the toilet; throw your pistol with the silencer on it under clothes in a dresser drawer, hide your sawed-off shotgun under the mattress, provided it doesn’t leave a human sized lump ( not under the bed because they will probably look there), then push your collection of severed heads to the back of the freezer behind the TV dinners and the ice cream, then take that mummified human hand and bury it under the sand in the cat’s litter box, before you let the cops in. They will probably be in the house less than 5 minutes, check the rooms and closets then leave probably faster than they came in. If the cops do anything wrong or illegal, your case will likely be thrown out; you can make an Internal Affairs complaint; they will probably be suspended or fired and you can sue the City and become a millionaire.

            I would be inclined to open the door so the officers don’t have to bypass the lock after they see what might be blood on your car or window but that’s just me. You do what you want. Realize that the police are only there because they have reason to be, probably due to a call, and have to be there, However, THE COPS DON”T WANT TO COME TO YOUR HOUSE IN THE FIRST PLACE; THEY DON’T WANT TO GO INTO YOUR HOUSE AND THEY DON”T WANT TO FIND ANYTHING IN YOUR HOUSE!

      • Generally speaking, a firearm is usually confiscated after running the record check of “guns registered” and or the wife telling the cops exactly where the gun is located. Aside from that they are not going to go rummaging through every drawer in “hopes” of locating a gun unless its a DV situation that amounts to attempted 187 or a serious GBI case. And yes, THE COPS DO NOT WANT TO COME TO YOUR HOUSE.

  2. If the sole purpose of these recordings are to assist investigation of claims of police misconduct there should be a destroy by date that parallels the time limits for filing a complaint with the Police Auditor’s office. Another question that comes to mind is how these recordings will be stored. Considering the hacking incidents in the recent past by individual hackers, organizations such as Anonymous and various state actors, is there any possibility of a guarantee that these records will remain private. One side effect of these recordings may be a chilling effect on interactions between the police and community when information is being solicited in the course of investigations.

  3. Under Section 5 (When to Activate) of the body-camera policy it is stated: “officers shall make every effort to record non-enforcement contacts should they become confrontational, assaultive, or enforcement-oriented.” With this, the policy acknowledges the existence of a distinction between one thing (enforcement situations) and another (non-enforcement situations), a distinction that makes sense and provides a comprehensible framework only if the commonly-held differences between the two types of actions are also supported.

    But they are not. In the same section (subsection A, a), the policy defines the circumstances requiring camera use to include “consensual” encounters where there exists “at least a reasonable suspicion the person(s) has committed, is committing, or may be involved in criminal activity.” Given the clarity of the difference between non-enforcement and enforcement encounters, and the acknowledgement that the former can evolve into the latter, one wonders at the wisdom (and purpose) of confounding the matter by commingling “consensual” with circumstances (the suspicion of criminal activity) contradictory to the word’s true meaning?

    An officer making contact with a presumably honest citizen who’s broken no laws (an everyday experience not to be confused with an enforcement encounter with a suspected criminal in which the officer comports himself so as to gain cooperation and consent to search) is engaged in a consensual, non-enforcement activity. Such consensual contacts are the epitome of non-enforcement activity, the essence of traditional community outreach (e.g. the public relations invention known as Community Policing), and have nothing to do with legal codes or concepts (such as reasonable suspicion).

    Checking on shopkeepers, shooting the breeze with a citizen, having a casual talk with a teenager in a park: these are examples of consensual, non-enforcement contacts, yet they are, as experience has proven, exceptionally important in maintaining good public relations, keeping abreast of local problems and concerns, and obtaining information of value to the police mission. Common sense tells us that such contacts, products of a social contract that precludes authoritarian behavior (such as recording, frisking, or checking identification), require that body-cameras be deactivated, yet nowhere in this lengthy policy are these most legitimate examples of consensual contact responsibly addressed.

    Given that consensual contacts between police officers and the citizenry have historically been non-factors in the creation of tragic/controversial incidents, the policy’s questionable treatment of them appears aimed not at setting policy by type of contact but at setting policy by outcome, so that the officer can be deemed to have acted out of policy whenever an unrecorded event spawns a political controversy. Consider the following hypothetical:

    An officer on patrol spots a teenage boy sitting alone at a table in a trouble-plagued park and approaches in a friendly manner (with the expectation of information-gathering and/or trust-building). Activating a body-camera (and dutifully informing the young man of that fact) would be counterproductive and likely perceived as offensive, so the camera is left off. What the officer doesn’t know is that the young man is a runaway who has just taken a gun in a burglary and presumes he’s about to be arrested. Panicked, the runaway reaches for the gun, fumbles as he draws it, and is shot dead by the officer.

    Under a well-reasoned and fair policy, the unactivated body-camera would not be an issue, as it would be understood that prior to the shooting the officer was not engaged in an enforcement activity. But within this policy, which contaminates the term consensual with enforcement elements, the officer would find not support for his engagement in an everyday activity but language of the type useful in creating a fall guy. He would find himself open to having his intentions doubted, his legal right to engage the boy questioned, his past record scrutinized, his career and liberty threatened. In a case where the runaway was a black or Hispanic youth the officer would certainly find himself accused of prejudice, profiling, and intentionally turning the recorder off for nefarious purposes (which could be included as grounds for a charge of premeditated murder). In other words, the officer would find himself in Ferguson, Missouri.

    Given the current political climate, I predict this body-camera policy will keep the cops in their cars, the criminals in the neighborhoods, and the city circling the drain.

  4. This will further promote the depolicing of America. Congratulations to the Left. You have won!

  5. “Domestic violence”

    http://www.ejfi.org/emerson.htm

    “Note that about half of the hundreds of married men who have contacted the Equal Justice Foundation have been charged with domestic violence or abuse after finding their wives were having an affair.

    Allegations of domestic violence or abuse are a standard tactic in a divorce today with virtually no recourse for the husband.

    Under current laws such false allegations are standard as they give the adulterous wife the house, the car, the kids, the bank account, and anything else she wants with no questions asked, i.e., due process is a thing of the past.

    She will also almost certainly receive child support even if the child(ren) prove not to be her husband’s. And there is no penalty for her perjury.”

    – – – – –

    After the hearing a temporary restraining order was entered against Dr. Emerson on September 14, 1998. This was essentially a form order frequently used in Texas divorce cases and contained standard language prohibiting Dr. Emerson from engaging is various financial transactions and from making threatening communications or actual attacks upon his wife during the pendency of the divorce case.

    Specifically, there was no finding by the court that Dr. Emerson had threatened his wife although Sacha alleged he threatened her paramour.

    – – – – –

    Unbeknownst to Dr. Emerson the state court’s order made him immediately subject to 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8) that makes the possession of any firearm or ammunition a federal felony with a mandatory prison term of up to ten years. Neither the order or the state judge informed Dr. Emerson he would be subject to federal criminal prosecution merely for possessing a firearm or ammunition while the temporary orders were in effect.

  6. Legal question:

    Can a third party allege domestic violence by one party against another party and seek a restraining order?

    – – – – – –

    18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8)

    (g) It shall be unlawful for any person—

    (8) who is subject to a court order that—
    (A) was issued after a hearing of which such person received actual notice, and at which such person had an opportunity to participate;

    (B) restrains such person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner of such person or child of such intimate partner or person, or engaging in other conduct that would place an intimate partner in reasonable fear of bodily injury to the partner or child; and

    (C)
    (i) includes a finding that such person represents a credible threat to the physical safety of such intimate partner or child; or

    (ii) by its terms explicitly prohibits the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against such intimate partner or child that would reasonably be expected to cause bodily injury; or . . .

    to ship or transport in interstate or foreign commerce, or possess in or affecting commerce, any firearm or ammunition; or to receive any firearm or ammunition which has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce.

    • Mr. SJOUTSIDETHEBUBBLE,

      Again with the CCW stuff? I thought the issue here was about police body-cameras? In any event, this should make you happy.

      California Penal Code “section 25600. (a) A violation of Section 25400 (prohibiting CCW without permit) is justifiable when a person who possesses a firearm reasonably believes that person is in grave danger because of circumstances forming the basis of a current restraining order issued by a court against another person who has been found to pose a threat to the life or safety of the person who possesses the firearm”.

      There you go. Go talk to an attorney and get a restraining order against someone.