MOUNTAIN VIEW (KPIX 5) — From President Barack Obama, to families of police shooting victims, the call is getting louder for officers to use body cameras. Police in Mountain View have become the latest in the Bay Area to use the technology.
The Mountain View Police Department first had the idea to get these cameras back in 2010. But as these cameras are put into full use over the next couple months, it’s particularly relevant right now, given protests over the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and Eric Garner in New York.READ MORE: FDA to Consider Pfizer Application for COVID Booster Shots on Friday
After testing out a few body cameras for about a year, Mountain View police said they’re almost ready for full use on all officers.
“We as police departments, I feel, have a responsibility to explain and to show how we do, what we do. And to be completely open with why we do the things we do,” said Captain Chris Hsiung of the Mountain View Police Department.
The department tested about 10 cameras in 2012. While support for these cameras seems to be widespread among the public, an officer who tested the cameras said that was not always the case.
“Some of them aren’t very happy I’m filming them, and I simply tell them that people record us so we’re able to record as well,” said Officer Katherine Comesana of the Mountain View Police.READ MORE: Marin County Uses State Grant to Seal Rural Roads With Recycled Tires
Some protocol hasn’t been determined yet, like when the officer is supposed to turn the camera on and off.
Police said they want to record any and all exchanges if possible, but they know the human element has its limitations.
“If you’re just surprised out of nowhere and you’re attacked as an officer, we don’t expect the officer to start thinking about the camera. We want them to protect themselves and keep the public safe,” Hsuing said.
To prevent officers from deleting videos, only five administrators will have the ability to access the video files.
Research conducted with the Rialto Police Department in Southern California two years ago showed that within the first year of using these body cameras, the department had an 88 percent decline in complaints filed against officers.MORE NEWS: Contractor Who Bribed San Francisco Public Works Director Sentenced to 2 Years in Prison
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