Evolving body camera policies for San Diego law enforcement

Posted at 6:57 PM, Jul 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-18 22:01:38-04

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors approved more than $1 million to equip deputies with body cameras. The price tag will cover the cost of 860 cameras, along with equipment to store video evidence.

Sheriff Bill Gore told 10News anything that helps "build trust between the communities we serve and law enforcement" is a win-win.

The cameras will roll out next month in Alpine and Ramona.

Questions have been raised nationwide about body cameras following the death of a Minneapolis bride-to-be.

Justine Damond called the police to report a possible assault in the alley behind her home, according to her fiancé Don Damond.

The two were set to be married next month.

According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, she approached the driver side of the police car. The officer in the passenger seat opened fire through the driver side door.

The officers’ body cameras were not on.

“The death of Justine is a loss to everyone who knew her,” said Don Damond. “She touched so many people with her loving and generous heart.”

According to the body camera policy of the Minneapolis Police Department, cameras should be activated during at least 14 different scenarios including “any contact involving criminal activity.”

In 2015, San Diego police shot and killed Fridoon Nehad after reports he was threatening people with a knife. It was later discovered he was holding a pen.

After the fatal shooting, the department updated their policy to say that “officers should begin recording… while driving to a call that has the potential to involve an enforcement contact.”

There are currently 1,280 body worn cameras issued in the San Diego Police Department since 2014 when the program began. A spokesperson said every officer and sergeant in the field has a camera. That includes K-9 officers, traffic officers, quality of life teams, and anyone wearing a uniform.

Several local departments have this equipment, including El Cajon, Chula Vista, Escondido, Carlsbad, and Coronado Police Departments.

Both Carlsbad and Chula Vista police said the cameras must be turned on in anticipation of law enforcement action.