Grass Valley Police Department may get body-worn cameras by June 2015
Officers with the Grass Valley Police Department may be equipped with body-worn cameras within the first six months of next year.
According to City Manager Bob Richardson, GVPD employees are forming a committee for a product review process evaluating different camera models. Part of that process will deal with finding options that integrate well with the department’s existing technology and equipment.
“What we’re trying not to have are multiple standalone pieces of technology, but starting to create a unified consistent system throughout the city,” Richardson said. “They’ll also be coming up with policies for utilization of the cameras.”
So far the committee hasn’t taken possession of any cameras to evaluate. That should happen in the coming months, after the committee picks a few specific models it would like to try out, he said.
Richardson said he will also have to confer with the relevant labor unions; though, so far he’s unaware of any organized opposition from within the ranks of the police department. After that, the matter will be brought before the city council for approval.
According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, competition in the industry has driven the cost of a body-worn camera down to $300-$400 per unit. There are a variety of models on the market, including one that can broadcast real-time video footage and GPS coordinates over the Internet.
Richardson is hopeful that revenues from Measure N can be used to fund the acquisition of the cameras — but if not that won’t be a deal-breaker.
“The entire department, as well as myself, are committed to moving forward on this,” Richardson said. “We’ll do whatever we need to.”
Body-worn cameras create video footage when officers interact with the public, and that footage can be used as evidence in cases involving allegations against suspects, or accusations of misconduct against officers.
“I know from my experience over the years that police officers work in a very emotionally volatile environment,” Richardson said. “Sometimes perceptions can get blurred.”
“I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen officers exonerated from accusations just by wearing audio recorders,” he said. “Video will provide a higher level of protection for our officers, and transparency for our citizens.”
To contact Staff Writer Dave Brooksher, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4230.
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