Could Lathrop Police Service be the next agency to don body cameras?
On Monday the Lathrop City Council heard from a consultant with Municipal Resource Group who was hired to conduct an investigation of the department’s technological standards and how they effective they are – a report that outlined how to utilize the department’s existing technology and apply it to effecting policing procedures.
But one aspect of the study – about the inclusion of officer-worn cameras – is already being handled by the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department.
According to City Manager Steve Salvatore, Lathrop already has one police officer that is wearing a body camera as part of a testing program being done by the Sheriff’s Office. Lathrop contracts with San Joaquin County for police services (and a previous study conducted by MSG advised that they continue that contract because of its effectiveness).
The decision on when those cameras would be implemented by all officers would come directly from the Sherriff and would likely include all patrol deputies – the City of Lathrop’s contracted force included.
Two years ago the City of Manteca tried a variety of cameras with its officers and eventually chose to outfit them all with Taser-brand cameras that record interactions with the public and provide a video record of contact that differs from the fixed position cameras inside of most patrol cars. Manteca paid $67,500 to outfit all of its officers after a variety of different camera systems were tested.
And not long after they were implemented the Manteca Police Department released a video that was captured by a patrol officer who was assaulted by a homeless man he was trying to roust from the side of a private business after hours. The video was released to counter reports from the man and online groups that the officer had attacked him.
But there’s more to making the administrative decision than simply strapping a camera to a law enforcement officer and getting him to push play.
According to the MRG report, those systems are still subject to the same sorts of policies, procedures and regulations as anything else.