"This is a new technology for us," comments Lt. Washburn, "We're trying to write the best policy we can that represents our community and our department. That can be challenging, especially with concerns that are in discord with each other."
The SJPD Body Worn Camera policy is posted for the public to view. Since body worn camera usage is new, Lt. Washburn and others involved in the program know that the policy evolve as issues and situations dictate.
In the spring of 2016, Chief of Police Eddie Garcia mandated that all police officers including sergeants, lieutenants and captains wear cameras. An aggressive program was set up to make sure patrol officers were trained by the beginning of the City of San Jose's fiscal year. SJPD Academy Class 26, which graduated on August 12, 2016, was the first group of recruits to wear body worn cameras from day one of their patrol duties.
Body worn cameras are individually assigned. The video is linked to the officer's badge number and can be tracked in the evidence management system.
Officers start their day by taking their cameras out of the docking station and making sure it is in good working order. Then, they place the camera on their uniform so it can record an optimal field of view. At this point, the officers power the camera on. When officers get to a call, they activate (start recording) their cameras before exiting their vehicle. Officers also activate their cameras in an encounter or whenever they feel the situation warrants a recording. During an event, officers are required to inform people when they are being filmed. At the end of a call or encounter, the officer deactivates the camera.
At the end of their shift, officers return to the police station and power off the camera. The camera is replaced into the docking station. At this point, the video evidence stored on the camera is pushed up to cloud storage. There is watermarking, security measures and encryption on the video so no one can tamper with it. Once the cloud transfer is complete, the camera memory is erased and the battery is recharged.