Body cameras soon to be worn by SDPD

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – Police patrolling San Diego's inner city will be the
first in the department equipped with cameras that record their interactions
with the public, Chief Shelley Zimmerman said this week.

Chest-mounted cameras are being tested now in the Central Division in
the downtown area, and shoulder-worn cameras will undergo trials soon,
Zimmerman told members of the City Council's Public Safety and Livable
Neighborhoods Committee.

The chief said the uniform camera program will be launched in the
Central, Southeast and Mid-City divisions, but a start date has not been

“If everything goes as planned – no other unforeseen challenges out
there – we are very hopeful that we'll have those three divisions by the end
of this fiscal year,” Zimmerman said. The fiscal year ends June 30.

She said when officers turn the cameras on, they will record a
continuous 30-second video loop. The officers will hit another button to start
more extensive recording when they initiate public contacts. The loop system
will provide the history of the half-minute leading up to the interaction.

At the end of a shift, officers will load the cameras into a dock at the
police station, where their recordings will be uploaded. One of the
challenges has been the varying length of time it takes the test cameras to
transfer data when the officers are ready to go home, according to the chief.

Zimmerman said a policy on the use of the cameras will be developed
within 30 to 45 days.

Among the issues to be explored are whether the recordings will be a
public record accessible to the citizenry, or whether those needed for evidence
or that involve ongoing investigations will need to be kept confidential.

She said the plan is for officers to not record interviews with victims
of child abuse or sexual assault, or situations that obviously require privacy.

Enforcement stops – traffic stops, field interviews and arrests – will
be recorded, the chief said. Each interaction will be labeled with a citation
number or case number so it can be searched, she said.

The plan to use cameras was spurred, in part, by allegations of sexual
misconduct by San Diego police officers and public complaints of racial

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