Citizen Complaints Against Officers Down After Use of Body Cameras

Citizen Complaints Against Officers Down After Use of Body Cameras

Complaints against officers are down after the implementation of body worn cameras around the county.

600 officers, about one-third of the San Diego Police Department, are equipped with body worn cameras, and they appear to be working. Data analyzed by SDPD for 2014 show a 40.54 percent reduction in total complaints and a 59.76 reduction in total allegations against the force. Specifically, the number of complaints regarding use of force, personal body weapon use, and the use of chemical agents, such as pepper spray, are down. The department plans to have 1,000 officers with body cameras by the end of the year.

The Chula Vista Police Department, along with two other agencies in the county, have also implemented use of body worn cameras. 60 Chula Vista officers added the cameras to their uniforms in January, with the remaining 57 to get them in phases over several weeks. Officers download their day’s video, usually about two hours’ worth, at the end of each shift. They don’t have access to edit the videos.

San Diego, Escondido, Chula Vista, and Coronado police departments all use body-worn cameras, while the Sheriff’s Department, Carlsbad, El Cajon and La Mesa police are considering or exploring options. Oceanside police don’t have camera purchases on their radar now, but a spokesman said it likely will be one day. National City police don’t use them.

These camera can be attached securely to sunglasses, a cap, a shirt collar, or a head mount. When recording, the camera captures a wide-angle, full-color view of what an officer is facing.