SJPD to Officially Launch Body-Worn Cameras on Wednesday

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 its officers with devices to visually and audibly record interactions with the public.

Officers will undergo a four-hour training Wednesday, which will be open only to the media, before being deployed into the field with operational 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 Washburn—a commander for the Body-Worn Camera Administrative Unit—and a representative from camera manufacturer Taser International will attend the training to answer questions.

The training will cover maintenance as well as mandatory and discretionary uses of the cameras. Subsequent trainings will take place periodically to keep officers up-to-date with the technology.

Studies have shown that officers without body cameras make more arrests than those with them, and officers wearing cameras were “25.2 percent more likely to perceive the devices as being helpful during their interactions with the public.” A study of preliminary statistics by San Diego’s police department found that body cameras helped reduce personal “body force” incidents by 46.5 percent.

Proponents of body-worn cameras have long argued that the technology should not only protect citizens from excessive force, but also protect the city from frivolous lawsuits.

SJPD has posted its body camera policy on its website.

9 Comments

  1. SJPD has had ear worn cameras at a price of $250,000 for over 5 years and buried them because they indicted officers. Now they will wear them because the City Attorney, District Attorney and the SJPD have an Iron Clad protocol that the videos will never be released or seen by anyone but them and in Civil Suits the City will go all the way to the Supreme Court if need be to sequester the videos that survive after being viewed. The claim will be that only the Civil Jury can see what SJPD will release to the Court as evidence because if violent it can cause civil Disorder. It’s baked in the cake along with optical scanning to obscure behavior and audio glitches.

    YOU DON”T NEED POLICE OFFICERS WITH CAMERAS,YOU NEED OFFICERS WHO DON”T NEED CAMERAS??????????

    • Slade shut your fat flap! You are such an ignorant has been washed up loser! Get over it already. You are a non hacker. Sucks to be at the end of your life and look back at what a colossal failure you were. Too bad, so sad.

  2. For full transparency, they should be on their full shift, they should have no ability to turn them off and no way to erase or tamper with them. This will provide us the indisputable truth of each situation and further relations between SJPD and the public.

    When it comes to something sensitive like a strip search, the video should automatically be sealed so it cannot be shared with others. If requested via a PRA, an oversight committee made up of SJPD and community members can decide how to maintain modesty and fulfill the request.

    Officers not complying with these guidelines should face a clearly defined set of disciplinary measures.

    Full transparency will aid community relations and we desperately need to improve those to alleviate tensions on both sides.

    • Don’t worry, the de-policing your perceived tensions have caused negates the need for and usefulness of body worn cameras. You’re going to get 16 hours of robotic theater a day. “Alleviate tensions on both sides”, spoken like a true victim of our oppressive city. They’re hiring by the way, if you want to improve YOUR community relations.

    • Mr. Wordnerd,

      Bodycams will never solve anything since the media won’t give play to officers when they do their jobs well. The media will only constantly stream the videotapes that paint the police profession in as negative a light as possible. I have mentioned these following points before but they bear repeating wherever police bodycams are sold and should help explain why this mythical “indisputable truth” and “full transparency” you claim to seek is an illusion existing only in the minds of the naive. Indisputable truth exists only in the mind of God.

      Just a few of the critical problems with police body-cams

      A camera doesn’t follow the eyes or see as an officer sees. A body camera is not an eye-tracker and it photographs a broad scene but can’t document where within that scene an officer was looking at any given instant. An officer may not see action within the camera frame that appears to be occurring “right before (his) eyes.”

      A body camera can’t acknowledge the physiological and psychological phenomena known as “tunnel vision”, often experienced under high stress. As a survival mechanism, the brain screens out of the perceptual field, information not considered vital for survival at that moment. Justification for a use of force comes from what an officer reasonably perceived, not necessarily from what a camera saw. Film captures everything and will not then convey the same sense of threat that the officer experienced using only that information his brain allowed him to process at the instant of violence.

      The camera does not record tactile cues, and “resistive tension” is critical to officers in deciding to use force. It may prompt them to suddenly apply force as a preemptive measure, when a suspect suddenly, subtly tightens up, but on camera this may look like the officer made an unprovoked attack.

      The camera can’t record the training and experience an officer brings to an encounter. Suspect behavior that may appear innocuous on film to someone unaccustomed to violence can convey the risk of mortal danger to a streetwise officer. An assaultive subject who brings his hands up may look like he’s surrendering, but is often instead assuming a combative stance, signaling his preparation for violence. The camera just captures the action, not the interpretation.

      A camera can see better in poor light than can an officer. The high-tech imaging of body cameras allows them to see and record with precision, information not possibly available to an officer at the time the incident is occurring. An officer’s assessment of the potential threat and his reaction may then be based more on experience, context, movement and a suspect’s posturing than on visual clarity. If an officer is expected to have seen as clearly as the camera did, his reaction might seem inappropriate.

      Camera angles, recording speed, sound or lack of sound, all are recorded differently on antiseptic film than these same factors are processed by an officer during a fast breaking, no-rules, violent event. Cameras also only record in 2 dimensions and depth perception, not apparent on film, is often a critical factor in officer decision making in violent situations.

      These are just a few of dozens of reasons that cops are resistant to body cams. Body cams will create more problems than they solve but they are currently all the rage, a “miracle cure” for police misconduct, among people like judge Cordell, Al Sharpton and other race peddling agenda driven cop haters but to oppose them is to be branded with a non-rebuttable presumption of race bigotry.

      • Cameras in everyone’s hands these day have certainly changed the landscape of news and law enforcement,
        that being said I’m sure this will lead to video forensics as future science the same as instant replay has changed sports. This doesn’t always work out for the better when it would be nice to pop some scumball in the mouth that’s been getting in your face. On the other hand the court is going to see the little SOB spitting on you and get him for that.

        Justice delayed is still justice. Cops will have to be on their best behavior, the camera certainly doesn’t see what we do most of the time but when it does we may not get a very flattering view of humanity.

        Everytime I watch a Police reality show I have a new respect for what the goods guys do every day.
        Thanks to all of you in Blue, Green, Tan and Camo.

  3. As a former officer, I wouldn’t argue with your requests. However, be very careful when you say “indisputable truth” because nothing in a court of law is indisputable, everything is subject to interpretation depending on which table you happen to be sitting at, the plaintiff or defendant side. As an investigator I will tell you that videos rarely tell the whole story and are so far have failed to capture the emotions and intentions of both the police officer and suspect.

    • > I will tell you that videos rarely tell the whole story and are so far have failed to capture the emotions and intentions of both the police officer and suspect.

      Right.

      Even if Hillary were wearing a body cam pointed at herself, she would have gotten off because . . .videos fail “to capture the emotions and intentions”….

      And, as we all now know, Hillary didn’t “intend” to do anything wrong.