Crime & Justice

Anaheim police officers to wear body cameras (updated)

In this photo taken Wednesday, July 25, 2012, Palm trees frame the Anaheim City Hall in Anaheim, Calif.
In this photo taken Wednesday, July 25, 2012, Palm trees frame the Anaheim City Hall in Anaheim, Calif.
Damian Dovarganes/AP

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Updated 8:17 a.m.: The Anaheim City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a request from the city's police department to purchase body cameras for officers to use over the next five years.

The council voted 5-0 to approve the $1.1 million purchase.

Officers are expected to begin wearing them as soon as November, with a plan to have the entire force using them by April.

— KPCC staff

6:44 p.m. (Tuesday): The Anaheim City Council will consider Tuesday a $1.1 million request from the city's police department to purchase body cameras for officers to use over the next five years.

The Anaheim Police Department sees the project as part its effort to create transparency and build trust with city residents. In 2012, a pair of fatal police shootings sparked unrest that led to protesting for several days and created distrust between some city residents and the police force.

If the City Council approves funding for body cameras, some officers could begin wearing them as soon as November.

About 20 Anaheim police officers have been testing 11 different types of body cameras since May 2013. The department has settled on vendor Taser Axon. Officers said those body cameras were easier to use, came with storage options for video and offered maintenance help.

If approved, patrol officers will first begin training on body cameras in November, said Lt. Bob Dunn, spokesperson for the Anaheim Police Department. Detectives and other units will train on them after, with the intent to have the full police force using them in April.

After residents protests in the summer of 2012, the police department began mandating that officers in the field record their interactions with the public using digital audio recorders. As the new cameras come into use, that approach would eventually be phased out, Dunn said.

“The implementation of this body worn camera technology will augment the voice recorders Anaheim Officers have been wearing for several years,” said Anaheim Police Chief Raul Quezada in a news release. “It will help us gather and preserve the best possible evidence and serve as another layer of transparency for the public we serve.”

The police department is also asking the city for a full-time staffer to manage the body camera program, take requests from investigators and the public trying to obtain video, and provide body cameras training to officers.

— Erika Aguilar