Body cameras are becoming more and more popular with police around the country, however, departments are still deciding how and when to use them.
In California, agencies in the Sacramento area all have different rules for body camera use, according to The Sacramento Bee:
Of the dozen or so law enforcement agencies in the greater Sacramento area, only Stockton and Folsom equip police with body cameras meant to record officers’ interactions with the public. Rocklin will join them in a matter of months.
The Sacramento Police Department is developing a pilot program to test different cameras on volunteer officers. So, too, are agencies in Auburn, Citrus Heights, Davis and Lodi. The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department is researching camera brands and models, as are Elk Grove and Roseville police.
It’s difficult to draw broad conclusions about how the use of body cameras might affect police use of force and dealings with the public. Even where the cameras are being used locally, that use is sporadic: Stockton has been requiring the cameras only for crowd control and riot response, and officers determine when those cameras are turned on. In Folsom, officers choose whether to wear the cameras.
“I think five, 10 years ago, it would have been a big deal to go out there with cameras,” Stockton Police Sgt. Larry Lane told The Sacramento Bee. “But now, whenever we’re out, everyone’s got their cellphone on us, so I think that you have to believe that you’re being recorded at all times, and if you don’t act appropriately, shame on you.”