20180710-bc-bodycam-1 (copy)

In this file photo, Bakersfield Police Department officer Lorena Vazquez shows a body-worn camera. BPD is planning many upgrades and expansions thanks to Measure N funding.

The Bakersfield Police Department will soon begin outfitting its officers with body-worn cameras, fulfilling a request that community activists have long lobbed at city leaders.

The cameras will gradually be phased in over the next three years, starting with officers who have the most contact with the community.

The city of Bakersfield recently signed an agreement with one of the nation’s largest body-worn camera companies, Axon Enterprise Inc. for $2.9 million over five years to provide the devices to officers.

BPD says the cameras will boost public confidence in the department as well as aid officers who may be faced with untrue accusations.

“It definitely felt good that it had an extra layer of protection there,” said BPD Spokesman Nathan McCauley, who wore a camera as part of a one-year pilot program that recently concluded. “There’s no misconstruing of what went on.”

The cameras are also expected to aid officers in investigations and provide clarity during high-profile incidents like officer-involved shootings.

Beginning in October, BPD plans to deploy 210 cameras to officers in patrol shifts, on its patrol detail and its school resource unit, among others.

Over the next two years the BPD plans to expand the program to the entire department.

The cameras will operate on standby mode most of the time. Officers will be required to begin recording any time they interact with the community.

Recordings taken from the cameras will be stored in Axon’s cloud system for the foreseeable future, and the data will be used in investigations.

“We have more than enough resources and availability to store these resources for years to come,” McCauley said.

To purchase the cameras, the city used funds from the 1 percent sales tax increase passed by voters in November.

The increase provided an estimated $58 million in extra revenue to city coffers in its first full year, allowing for the rapid expansion of many city services and the addition of around 100 new officers.

“The ability to implement the cameras are a direct result of the investment made by the voters through the passage of the Public Safety and Vital Services Measure,” Assistant City Manager Chris Huot wrote in an email to The Californian, using the official title of the sales tax measure. “We look forward to the implementation and continuing to partner with the community on important public safety issues.”

The Kern County Sheriff’s Office deployed body-worn cameras to deputies in its metropolitan patrol unit in January. KCSO Spokesperson Angela Monroe said several other units within the department had the cameras as well.

You can reach Sam Morgen at 661-395-7415. You may also follow him on Twitter @smorgenTBC.

(14) comments

Nevermind

Cameras protect everyone

GetReal2

Why 3 Years?

Stating the obvious

People like lrlopez74 can never be satisfied. Everything is a cover-up. Grow up lrlopez74. Why should the city spend money if people like you will never be satisfied?

REMUDA

The Law . . . IS .. . . THE LAW . . .

"Assembly Bill 748 will require the release of recordings from body-worn cameras within 45 days of an incident, including if officers fired shots or if a use-of-force causes death or great bodily harm."

Meaghan MackeySunday, (June 30th 2019)

https://krcrtv.com/news/local/new-california-law-requiring-release-of-police-body-camera-footage-goes-into-effect-monday

REMUDA

"Brady lists are highly secretive databases compiled by law enforcement agencies that include the names of officers who have engaged in acts of moral turpitude and dishonesty."

Senate Bill 1421, (3 JAN 2019)

https://www.eastbayexpress.com/SevenDays/archives/2019/01/03/california-supreme-court-wants-to-know-if-a-new-police-records-transparency-law-applies-to-brady-lists-of-problem-officers

lrlopez74

What the media won't tell you: The BPD is now being briefed on how to turn off body cameras BEFORE IT RECORDS them doing something illegal and then turning them back on when they're done.



Get ready to see a LOT of body cams conventiently malfunctioning at critical moments.

Gene Pool Chlorinator

Wow, now I've seen it all- there's a CABAL between the local media and the BPD?

I'm not seeing that, but hey, you obviously have sources inside the media and the BPD that gave you this info, so I applaud you sir...

Patricia Edna

From the article: “The cameras will operate on standby mode most of the time. Officers will be required to begin recording any time they interact with the community.” It would be easy to deduce that if they can turn them on, they can turn them off. They’ll still be accountable for any “malfunction.” Your paranoia is over the top, you should get out more.

ReefRanger

He's not paranoid. He's a dedicated cop hater with a terminally closed mind. Never comments on anything unless he can rant about "corrupt cops" or "killer cops". I suspect that at some point in his troubled life, he had a negative experience with LE due to a poor choice he made. It has colored his objectivity ever since.

Nevermind

You mean like when the Fastrip camera conveniently and coincidentally turned off exactly when David Turner was shot?

ReefRanger

Yeah. Because THAT would never have to be explained. By the way, what wall were your sticky feet stuck to when you heard this little tidbit?

lrlopez74

This won't change a thing as long as cops have the power to turn these cameras on and off.



https://kdvr.com/2019/04/04/lawsuit-accuses-aurora-cop-of-turning-off-body-cam-planting-drugs/



Lawsuit accuses Aurora cop of turning off body cam, planting drugs

A lawsuit filed against the Aurora Police Department and officer Matthew Milligan focuses on the turning on and off of an officer's body cam.



The federal lawsuit filed by 35-year-old Nakiko Diallo accuses Milligan of planting drugs in Diallo's car and the Aurora Police Department of ignoring Milligan's conduct.

echozero1337

Keep in mind that due to the speculators, the city insisted on passing the buck on to it's citizens, instead of those whose immoral and unethical behavior put the city\county in to such a deficit. I would advocate that you put body cams on the homeless so that when johnny cold blood starts hunting them down, you can see the brutality that exists. Either way, public data is public data. Get your CPRA requests ready.

Mrknowitall

Getting cameras is huge progress. BPD could have stalled for years. Well done. Cops will turn on cameras going into a call. So the purpose of collecting footage will be served. Sure, a few bad eggs will turn off cams and issue a beating here and there, but Big Brother cannot be everywhere or privacy issues are endangered. This shows BPD leadership is on the up and up regarding improving citizen safety upon police contact. All have a right to freedom of being discriminated upon or abused. Always remember; Black Lives Matter.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.