I read the article below about the Sheriffs testing the BWC. Why would they not implement it? It is a tool to get evidence of what actually went on with a contact.
It is not a he said, she said anymore….it is lets go to the video.
I have spent virtually my entire 12 year legal career in criminal law. I have seen a number of changes during my time as both prosecutor and now in defense. The implementation of the body camera is one of the biggest changes I have seen (to go along with propsition 36 and 47).
I can tell you there needs to be some uniform standards in the use of Body cameras. I subpoena the body cameras as soon as I am retained as an attorney. I have seen as I have tried to obtain the evidence each agency is still trying to figure out how to implement it. Escondido has very different procedures from San Diego Police. While every agency may have different procedures in the end there should be uniformity in in the evidence.
Body Worn Camera evidence is key, especially in a San Diego DUI case. In most every report you will see the officer note “slurred speech”. I cannot tell you that when I review the whole video and not hear a single slurred word I begin to wonder what else may be inaccurate. Was the report a cut and paste job? The officer never met the client so did they just honestly (mistakenly) think they have slurred speech? If the video shows slurred speech (and other symptoms of impairment) then the body camera does its job because I get to tell the client the totality of the evidence shows this may not be a case to go to trial on.
In all cases the body camera is a great tool. There needs to be as much uniformity as possible. The officer in the field needs to know it cannot be turned on and off at their discretion. There is evidence to be tallied. There is tax dollars to ensure they are enforcing the laws in a professional manner. It can also be the best evidence to determine what actually transpired in an incident. It will be interesting to see how this develops.
This is why obtaining video is one way to be proactive. Call my office for a free consultation at (858) 751-4384.
San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore committed some of his agency’s sworn personnel to take part in uniform-worn camera program for the next three months.
The pilot program will begin Friday and involve three companies, each with a 30-day field-testing phase, according to sheriff’s public affairs.
The cameras, which record video and audio records of law enforcement officers’ interactions with the public, will be deployed by the department’s Rancho San Diego Station, Lakeside Substation, Vista Station, North Coastal Station, Rural Command, and Hall of Justice contingent.
The agency started to explore the possibility of the using the devices 18 months ago. Its research has included companies and equipment, practices for storage of the resulting data and a comprehensive policies for the application of the cameras.
The companies that will participate in the trial – WatchGuard Video, TASER International and Vievu – were selected by a panel consisted of representatives from the sheriff’s Data Services Division, Training Unit, Contracts Division, and patrol and detentions units.
The committee also discussed the issue with officials from other law enforcement agencies, including the Carlsbad, Chula Vista, Escondido, San Diego and Mesa, Arizona, police departments, as well as the Los Angeles Police Department and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
The full article can be found here.