SANTA MONICA—The Santa Monica Police Department will be implementing a Body Worn Camera (BWC) Pilot Program beginning on Monday, September 12. The BWC Pilot Program will select uniformed officers and civilian personnel with cameras that will allow the PD the opportunity to collect documentary evidence for criminal investigations and administrative investigations while ensuring the SMPD the opportunity to identify areas where growth and improvement are needed, in addition to commendatory actions.
The BWC Pilot Program will help the SMPD understand the technology, its effectiveness, the optimal methods to process data captured and the efficacy of the associated policies governing the uses of the devices. Canyon News spoke to Lt. Saul Rodriguez via email from the SMPD about the program.
“At the start of the Pilot Program, 25 Police Officers and Uniformed Civilian Staff will be equipped with the Body Worn Cameras. After two months, 25 additional personnel will be issued for a two month rotation,” said Rodriguez.
“The SMPD recognizes the significance of accountability and transparency as functions of securing and maintaining the public’s trust. The BWC Pilot Program is an accepted, contemporary method for the Police Department to enhance accountability and transparency while improving the services provided to the Santa Monica community. The BWC technology will supplement in-car audio/video recorders SMPD officers have been using for many years,” states the release.
After the six-month period ends, a comprehensive and measure evaluation will take place to assess the Pilot Program’s effectiveness in terms of legislative requirements, the needs of the PD and community expectations. When asked about the long term potential of the cameras, Lt. Rodriguez replied, “Undetermined at this point. That is primarily why we are embarking on the Pilot Program to address all the nuances associated with the technology. Following the 6 month Pilot Program, a research study will be completed by researcher at California State University Fullerton.”
The SMPD is asking for the public to participate in the program surveys to gain insight on how the BW Pilot Program is working. Interested community members can assist by visiting www.santamonicapd.org/bodyworncamera for an English and Spanish BWC survey. When asked about cost for the BWC program, Lt. Rodriguez informed Canyon News that he did not have exact costs at the time and the SMPD has not received any grants or outside funding for the pilot program.
For additional information, please contact the BWC Information line (310) 458-8400.