Following a successful two month pilot program that started March 1, the City of Carlsbad Police Department will soon equip all of its officers with body-worn cameras. The City Council approved the contract for the cameras at its June 7 meeting.
The annual cost of the cameras, training, maintenance and data storage will be $156,409. The city will also pay $19,503 to install and $14,873 a year to operate a separate internet connection to upload the footage to a secure, “cloud” based storage system. The city will use $114,812 in grant funding, to purchase the camera equipment.
The San Diego Police Department, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Office, Chula Vista Police Department, Coronado Police Department and Escondido Police Department are testing or have adopted the use of body-worn cameras.
“Technology has already transformed our lives, and that extends to how law enforcement does its job,” said Police Chief Neil Gallucci. “Body-worn cameras not only assist in the collection of evidence, but they can also enhance public trust, which is critical to keeping Carlsbad safe and secure.”
After researching cameras and vendors, the Police Department chose the TASER Axon Flex Camera. Other agencies in the county are also using TASER, which provides a number of efficiencies, said Gallucci.
The Police Department has developed a policy that directs officers when to turn on cameras, when not to use cameras, who can access the footage and when, and how the collected data is stored. The policy is available on the city website and can be found here http://goo.gl/pPKwsc.
According to the project manager Captain Mickey Williams, in creating the policy the Police Department reviewed national information, and worked closely with other regional agencies and the District Attorney’s Office.
The cameras worn by the officers will be clearly visible. Community members should assume the camera is recording, said Williams, and they are encouraged to ask about their use.
“We understand there is a lot of curiosity about body-worn cameras, and we want the public to have as much information as possible about the department’s use of this resource,” said Williams.