SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — All of the Sacramento Police Department patrol officers will be outfitted with body cameras by September. The Sacramento City Council approved a contract with Taser International for 750 body cameras plus several dozen more for reserve purposes.
Confrontations with police in Sacramento have been recorded on car dash cameras for nearly 20 years, but each time, the video stops with the vehicle. Now, sensitive altercations with police may be caught on body cameras.
“It will hopefully deescalate some situations and give a perspective of what the officers deal with on a daily basis,” said Sgt. Bryce Heinlein, a spokesperson with the Sacramento Police Department.
Heinlein says the department has been looking into the best way to implement body cameras for more than two years.
“We’re not a stranger to cameras,” said Heinlein. “We know that our actions if they’re not captured on our own cameras, they’ll be captured on the public’s cellphones.”
He says the department hopes the move will add a layer of transparency in their police work, something council member Allen Warren can get behind.
“There have been some notable issues around the U.S. as well as here in Sacramento, so I think we’re taking an appropriate step,” said Warren on Tuesday.
The cameras will be issued to each patrol officer and some will begin using them as soon as the end of March. The cameras can be activated either by the officer or automatically through Bluetooth technology during a certain type of incident.
“It gives us more certainty that what is being said [and] happened is being reflected on the tape,” said Warren.
More information, yes, but police caution that the cameras will only provide part of the story.
“What you see might be different from what someone else sees,” said Heinlein.
The cameras cost roughly $4 million over the next five years. The footage will be stored for 18 months. Several new hires and technology upgrades to keep the video archive will be added to the department at a recurring cost of roughly $1 million a year.