EPD will test drive Body Worn Camera’s (BCW’s) over the next few months. The BWC technology shows great promise as the Rialto Police have shown by experiencing a significant reduction in citizen complaints and use of force after implementation of body cameras. It seems both citizens and officer behave better when video is rolling. http://www.policefoundation.org/sites/g/files/g798246/f/201303/The%20Effect%20of%20Body-Worn%20Cameras%20on%20Police%20Use-of-Force.pdf
If BWC’s are so successful, why not legislate them for teachers, preachers and health care workers also? All are professionals with incredible public trust, high rates of lawsuits and their activities have resulted in injury or death. The police, Eureka Police, are up for the task and are moving forward. Who else will?
Council appropriated money via the 2014/2015 budget to implement BWC’s and Captain Brian Stephens has been assigned the task of research, design and implementation. EPD welcomes your constructive input and suggestions as we write the policy and implement the technology. Here are a few issues to be resolved before deployment:
- Types of events that should be recorded. Did I hear you say record 7/24? How about at 1st amendment events where the mere presences of cameras could be used to suppress the freedom of speech? Protests? Religious events? Political events?
- Should all crimes be recorded? What about sexualized violence interviews? Children who are victims of rape and incest? Domestic violence?
- Can police use the video as evidence? People are concerned with big government will BWC’s add to this fear?
- How much privacy should officers have? How long will the video be kept? The longer the more expensive.
- Should officers be allowed to review the recording before writing a report?
- Can all people be recorded all the time and in all environments? What if the person objects to the recording? Or Objects to recording in their home? At the hospital and during treatment? In mental health settings?
“Constructing sound policy is vital to a successful outcome of BWC’s.”
- The cost of implementation is a concern. Retention of video/data policy will affect the amount of digital storage is $25 – $99 per officer, per month. That is about 50K a year for EPD after start up cost for the Taser Model.
EPD’s goal is to put in place sound policy that reflects the desires of the Eureka community, insures privacy and yet records the activities and behaviors of officers and the public. That policy will then be vetted by diverse groups and stakeholders. We also want to ensure the cameras acquired are the best choice in terms of quality, durability and price and are used in a way that strengthens Eureka.
You can give input here or take a short survey at Eureka Police Facebook account.
Attached are some additional resources for your review.