The Sacramento Community Police Review Commission is updating the Body Worn Camera Policy for the Sacramento Police Department. This is a draft of the recommendations that they will be presenting to City Council December 10, 2019. They would like as many written comments from the public as possible for inclusion in the report. Please send comments to Mariana Corona Sabeniano at. [email protected]
The following information is a summary of the what was presented at the September 18th Natomas Community Association (NCA) Meeting. The last time that this policy was reviewed and updated was March 2017. This commission has been working on this policy since January 2019. This policy is used to train police officers. A summary of the changes to the recommendation are included below. Many of these changes are based on community feedback:
- People want the body cameras on 24/7. Current policy is that the police officer needs to press a button to start the recording, so it is at the discretion of individual police officers as to whether something is captured. They are supposed to turn it on if they are part of an “active investigation”. A police officer can easily forget to turn it on or they can purposely leave it off.
- Release of body warn footage within 30 days. The current policy doesn’t clearly state when the footage is to be released. While Chief Hahn has worked to have footage released rather quickly ~3 Days they would like this explicitly stated.
- A supervisor needs to provide authorization of when to turn off the camera. Many individuals gave feedback that until there is more trust with the police there needs to be a clearly defined process of when and how cameras get turned off from recording.
There are potential issues with having police record all of the time. One of the issues is cost. The cost to store the camera footage from March 2017 was $1,000,000. As of today, all of the camera footage needs to be kept for at least 2.5 years. Even if this is an issue today, with changing technology we may be able to do this in the future, if costs go down. Attitudes about body cameras have changed both from the police and the public. Initially, many police officers were resistant and worried about having their actions recorded; however, many of them actually like that they have video footage that accurately depicts what occurs. They feel like it is a two way street. It protects the public and the officers.