San Jose plans to roll out yet another pilot program testing body-worn cameras on police officers this fall. That would push the date of official deployment out to late 2016.
Twelve officers have volunteered to test a few different products for about four months, studying ease of use, time spent working with cameras, downloading data and quality of the outcome. Results of the four-month test will help the city draft a request-for-proposal process, which will take a half-year to complete.
Several other Bay Area jurisdictions have already deployed officer-worn cameras, including Oakland, Gilroy, Union City, Los Gatos, Campbell and BART.
San Jose tested body cameras in 2009 and 2012, under chiefs Rob Davis and Chris Moore. Despite repeated pressure from Independent Police Auditor LaDoris Cordell, who says cameras would improve accountability and protect officers from frivolous complaints, the program never got past its pilot stage.
In response to public criticism in the wake of high-profile officer-involved shootings last year, President Obama announced plans to invest $75 million, through a 50 percent matching arrangement with local governments, to increase the number of cops with body cameras. The grants would cover the cost of data storage and equipment. San Jose plans to apply for some of that funding.
Police agencies have been testing the technology for the better part of a decade. As the cameras become more widespread, the U.S. Department of Justice has come up with a primer for their use.
The DOJ study found that police departments using the cameras reduce the risk of litigation. In Rialto, California, police reduced the number of citizen complaints against officers by 88 percent in one year after deploying the cameras.
Meanwhile, operational costs have gone down and technologies have improved.
“With dozens of police departments already demonstrating the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of this equipment, it’s time for San Jose to move forward,” council members Raul Peralez, Rose Herrera, Chappie Jones and Mayor Sam Liccardo write in a joint memo.
More from the San Jose City Council agenda for April 14, 2015:
- A $312,000 grant will pay for a Work2Future program that provides summer jobs to 500 foster youth.
- The Knight Foundation will pay for Councilman Peralez to go to Portland to see firsthand how public policy, private investment and community action create a vibrant city.
- The city will pay $352,000 to a consultant to help the Division of Gaming Control investigate all people and businesses looking for gaming licenses in San Jose. The contract with Conroy and Associates, Inc., will last through June next year, with options for one-year contract renewals.
- The city may adopt a new rule prohibiting tobacco companies from doling out free cigarette samples at local bars. State law already prevents them passing out tobacco products in public spaces and anywhere but a designated adult business. Under this new rule, similar to one adopted in Richmond six years ago, the ban would extend to bars and nightclubs. According to state records, Philip Morris sent reps to San Jose bars 564 times last year to hand out samples and coupons for $1 packs of cigarettes.
- The Sharks will move their minor league franchise from the East Coast to San Jose for the 2015-16 season, which requires council approval.
- Planning officials will present a report about the city’s history of land conversions to residential use.
WHAT: City Council meets
WHEN: 1:30pm Tuesday
WHERE: City Hall, 200 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose
INFO: City Clerk, 408.535.1260