SANTA MONICA—In September 2016, the Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD) initiated the Body Worn Camera (BWC) Pilot Program, with a six-month operational period that ended on March 11, 2017. Over the months, officials had the opportunity to study the technology, its usefulness, and its ability to assist the department with its objectives. The SMPD is currently in the research phase and is seeking the community’s perspectives on the BWC Pilot Program, according to a press release from Lieutenant Saul Rodriguez on Wednesday, May 31.

During the operational period, uniformed police officers and civilian personnel were selected and outfitted with portable audio and video recording technology, in the form of body worn, battery-operated cameras, according to the SMPD. BWC technology intends to capture on-duty interactions between officers and members of the public, as well as assist the police with documenting evidence for criminal and administrative investigations.

The Pilot Program helped the SMPD evaluate the technology and its effectiveness while developing methods to best process the captured information. The program assisted the department in identifying areas for development and improvement. The SMPD recognizes the importance of securing and maintaining the community’s trust, according to a press release about the Pilot Program. The program is an accepted and contemporary method for police to promote transparency and accountability and improve services to the public.

Over the six-month pilot period, the SMPD collaborated with researchers from California State University, Fullerton to collect and study data and determine the effects of the BWC technology. They evaluated behavioral changes brought about by the presence of the cameras and the best practices for effectiveness of the policies surrounding the use of the technology.

SMPD personnel who participated in the Pilot Program have the option to continue using the BWC during the final evaluation phase, while other personnel can choose to be equipped with the cameras voluntarily.

“A comprehensive and measured evaluation is underway to assess the Pilot Program’s effectiveness in terms of legislative requirements, the needs of the Police Department, and community expectations,” states the press release. “Following the post-pilot surveying effort, all data and information collected will be evaluated to determine the feasibility of permanently implementing the BWC Program.”

The SMPD is seeking public participation in the follow-up program surveys to obtain the community’s input regarding the BWC Pilot Program. Interested community members may participate by visiting the department website at for an English and Spanish BWC survey.