Two-and-a-half years have passed since San Jose police first began studying the use of body cameras. This week, the department will finally equip itsÂ officers with devicesÂ to visually and audibly record interactions withÂ the public.
Officers will undergoÂ a four-hour training Wednesday, which will be open only to the media, before being deployed into the fieldÂ with operationalÂ body cameras. The recordings will become part of investigative records, similar to 9-1-1 calls and collected evidence.
Police Chief Eddie Garcia, Lt. Elle Washburnâa commander for the Body-Worn Camera Administrative Unitâand a representative from camera manufacturerÂ Taser International will attendÂ the training to answer questions.
The training will coverÂ maintenance as well as mandatory and discretionary uses of the cameras. Subsequent trainings will take place periodically toÂ keep officers up-to-date with the technology.
Studies have shown that officers withoutÂ body cameras make more arrests than those with them, and officers wearing cameras were â25.2 percentÂ more likely to perceive the devices as being helpful during their interactions with the public.â A study of preliminary statistics byÂ San Diegoâs police department found that body cameras helped reduce personal âbody forceâ incidents byÂ 46.5 percent.
Proponents of body-worn cameras have long argued that the technologyÂ should not only protect citizens from excessive force, but also protect the city from frivolous lawsuits.
SJPD has posted itsÂ body camera policy on its website.