City Closer to Buying Wearable Cameras for Police Officers

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:

WHAT: City Council meets
WHEN: 1:30pm Tuesday
WHERE: City Hall, 200 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose
INFO: City Clerk, 408.535.1260

Jennifer Wadsworth is the former news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.


  1. LaDoris and other members of the professional race baiting and victimization industries have to be licking their chops at the prospect of more data that can be used to extort more money from the taxpayers.
    And all of it funded by a “grant” from the very taxpayers they hope to shake down.

    Democrat dominated government- what a colossal racket.

    • so many shills here posting for the sjpd. it’s quite transparent and typical. they’re either on dope or dirty san jose cop family members. cordell is a bought and paid for puppet by reid and the city council, who are mostly owned by the dirty cops and their unions. for all you stupid people or people shilling for sjpd, the sjpd doesn’t give a damn about you. cordell was brought out of retirement because she’s black and a former judge from EPA. who better to be reid’s latest diversion away from the criminals of the sjpd. and who do you thing provides protection for reid? it ain’t the state police from Minnesota. not all that much different with the fireman who also lobby thru their unions for exhorbidant salaries and benefits, etc., except they don’t constantly and regularly prey on the citizenry. most of both these groups have great difficulty functioning at a 8th to 11th grade level. cordell, is an old, retired east palo alto judge that has absolutely zero independent authority in her position, beyond begging for scraps from one contract negotiation to next from city council. she was hired to do exactly what the city council will allow her to do. stump speeches to take focus away from the real issues of zero police independent accountability is major part of it. cordell needed more income and the city of san jose wanted to do something cheap to spruce up their image and shine a light on anything but their ongoing sjpd gang of thugs/punks with guns that prey on honest and decent citizens. if council wanted to change endemic culture of corruption and criminality in sjpd, they’d allow an independent civilian board to address and attend to complaints and discipline and more. all the cops do for the most part is refuse to do any work at all. all they do is bitch about their benefits and pay, when or if they do respond to calls for service. it’s not just the dirty cops, it’s the stupid, ignorant and useless dispatch people and all others intertwined in that cult of corruption. if or when you dare complain against them, they retaliate big time. mayor reid believes in that process, so says his chief of staff. guess who answers calls in reids office if you waste your time to complain to his office about dirty cops. yep, he hired a retired cop who is quite willing to waste your time and reiterate that reid believes in the process. well, the process was trashed a long time ago. but all these hypocrite, corrupt politicians care about is the next election. there is no oversight or credible investigatory work done by IA in dealing with the sjpd, unless you’ve caught the cops on multiple video feeds and audio and they confess. I.A. whitewashes over or rubber stamps, whatever the police say or do. they’re one in the same, just different offices. they are all part of their code blue. a second grader could devise objective, arms-length civilian run oversight and a true independent investigatory body to fire and prosecute the dirty cops. but not these power mad city of san jose council members or reid cause they’re far more interested in getting votes. sure, they had to cut back a tid bit on their grossly swollen salaries and benefits and retirement packages, because this city council doesn’t know how to do anything but throw money at blocks of voters to stay in power, at our expense. all a bunch of whores. listen to the hypocrite liccardo who some years back wouldn’t even return a phone call about a dirty cop who attacked a business owner. IA did nothing and liccardo did nothing. what a sham. need to run at least 90% of the current dirty cops and city council and the rest of the gov’t bumbs out of town for good. don’t need them. if not for fear from them, we could all do much better policing for ourselves. lying miserable punks and criminals, all. they don’t turn each other in because all the laws are written to protect their lazy gang to our detriment, with the union hacks always fighting their fights and running interference for them at exorbidant costs that we are forced to fund. I say starve the bastards out and don’t five em another nickel. all they care about is our money. let the cops hire attorneys out their own pockets like we have to, and put them on leave during investigations without pay. but what do i know as a conservative business owner who’s witnessed “hundreds” of incidents of police misconduct, assault, battery, false arrest, threats, falsifying reports, retaliation, and lots more. far too many of you folks focus on cordell and you’re so easily manipulated to miss the point and fall victim of the very ruse she was brought in to perpetrate. have any of you ever sat down and talked with her? didn’t think so but i have, and i say she’s a vacuous windbag with no teeth and no authority to do anything but put up adds, way off the topic of the sjpd endemic culture of corruption, as she dares not rock the boat or she and her maliable staff won’t get any more funding. that’s how they play the game in a nutshell. this isn’t about race…it’s about government sponsored corruption and the privat sector that is always busy being productive, is funding it all as unwitting participants. you might guess I’m not on anyone’s payroll or related to any of the dirty lot i write about here, and you’d be correct.

  2. Misconduct by SJPD Officers is less than 1%… And the bulk of sustained complaints are due to improper procedure- not the Hollywood misconduct Mrs. Cordell panders to. This is historically true and even “independently” verified by the IPA Office. How the City justifies the wasteful spending on the IPA, her staff, her outreach, the unnecessary paperwork generated by SJPD to justify her existence and now body worn cameras is beyond reason. The cost of cameras is minuscule compared to data storage and the manual labor to edit/export/prepare footage for Court and public record requests. When Rufas speaks of increased cost by SJPD, despite fewer Officers- it’s because of policies like this that add no service to taxpayers, but marginally increase feel good oversight.

    • The cost of cameras is minuscule compared to data storage and the manual labor to edit/export/prepare footage for Court and public record requests.

      Nate you’re wrong on all points. Data storage is cheap, in fact the cheapest it’s ever been (quick googling reveals that 2tb hard drive is about $100, which is about $0.04 per gig) Even recorded at 1080p resolution, those videos won’t even make a dent in the amount of space being used.

      Want to talk “Enterprise” storage with me? Netapp? Still cheap.

      As far as video editing, A little cropping and adding subtitles here and there isn’t terribly complex. That would not be SJPD’s responsibility. It would be the responsibility of the DA, or defense lawyer to edit the raw footage into something a jury/judge could consume.

      • You seem to not understand how evidence differs from cat videos for Facebook- but we can agree to disagree… Thanks for reading. You’re going to very upset when you see the bill.

        • Hmm? I dunno, will it be cheaper than out of court settlements from misconduct suits? Also, isn’t the SJPD required to give the unedited video to Counsel, less they break the chain of evidence rules?

          (speaking purely as a guy versed in this stuff)

          • No, it won’t be cheaper because settlements are covered by insurance policies- the policies will not be cancelled. Unedited video is up to debate, as Evidence Code 1040-1042 allows the PD to not divulge certain information, for obvious reasons. Besides, that only applies to Court. Anyone can submit a public records act request, which then requires extensive review and editing. Video from hundreds of Officers during 10 hour shifts, 24 hours a day results more media than you’re imagining. It’s not like it can be erased because someone along the line thinks it’s irrelevant or of little value- it’s ALL kept long-term in the event of a complaint down the road.

            The bulk of the storage cost is because video must be stored per the Evidence code, not on media from Google searches. Secure, redundant long-term storage with software that tracks who has access and viewing/editing privileges. It’s specialized. All edits should be documented as well, which adds duplicity. SJPD will not be putting video on the cloud, so don’t bother with that silly argument. You can keep telling yourself you’re versed in in this stuff, but clearly you’re not.

          • There are off the shelf programs that will tell you who accessed the video, who did what. SVN, CVS, GIT, Sharepoint. I’m still scratching my head about your requirements.

      • I think Naeger’s point is well taken. In fact the staff report says as much:

        Preliminary equipment estimates range from as low as $300 per device to $1700; however, there are additional costs for maintenance, software licenses, and storage or subscription fees
        depending on how storage is handled. These additional costs are unknown at this time but will
        be identified through the RFP process.

        Buying a bunch of storage arrays or NAS boxes is likely to be the cheapest part of what’s required. I think they should go through the process of getting bids before they commit to this. Otherwise they’re voting on a pig in a poke.

        • I think they should go through the process of getting bids before they commit to this. Otherwise they’re voting on a pig in a poke.

          See that I can agree with. I’d like to see a full copy of what’s proposed too before signing off, or writing it off. Given that video has standardized on h.264 compression in an MP4 container, i’d appreciate it if they steered away from proprietary solutions. In this day and age most O/S’s are capable of editing/playing back most types of video out of the box.

          And if they should need something a little more robust to manage the media, I hope they just use something off the shelf like XBMC. It supports video tags, video downloading, and granulated permissions.

  3. Here we go again. A waste of city money just to please LaDoris. Hell lets spend the money to hire a few more officers or fire fighters. If Chuck would can her behind we could hire another dozen officers. SJPD has a IA Department, let them do the work. We do not need this politically good waste of money. But then we do not need the majority of this council either.

    • Lets start with the fulltime police officer that is assigned to “protect” Rufus! This scandal continues and should have been squashed by Esquivel when he took the helm. Im sure this officer gets along with Rufus as he was hand picked by his majesty for a second go around when the last officer was promoted. Maybe a PRA is in order to see what it costs to protect one of the Irish Cartels minions ie Chuck Rufus Reed…

  4. Im all for anything that will protect our Officers , BUT I’m against anything that can and will be used against them . Because no matter what you catch on video , it can very easily catch it out of context . especially if there is no audio/or it is compromised. This sorry excuse for an Auditor will use any means to continue to demean, degrade, and destroy SJPD.

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