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OPD closer to obtaining clip-on cameras

September 14, 2010 7:15:16 PM PDT
Police in Oakland are one step closer to wearing clip-on video cameras on their uniforms.

Over the summer, Oakland tested devices that just clip on, slide open and they begin recording. Oakland's Police Chief Anthony Batts believes the cameras will improve officer safety.

"Not only police safety but citizen interaction it's a way for me to monitor our customer service, interact with the public and give our best service," he said.

Each has an internal hard drive and at the end of the day, the video is downloaded to a server.The cameras will replace the ones mounted on police cars and Batts said they have had little success.

Oakland Council Member Jean Quan says the cameras are a win-win for the city.

"These little units are a few hundred dollars where as the car camera system, and the backup, and the memory and up linking it to the computer every night was several thousand dollars per car and it wasn't as comprehensive," she said.

The council will get federal funding to help pay for the new cameras and this is one issue that has people talking about the pros and cons of using such a device.

"It's one of those things that can keep police a little bit more under control," Oakland resident Eduardo Navarro said.

"Perhaps there are privacy issues or maybe a bystander being exposed on camera and recorded," Oakland resident Ryan said.

Oakland attorney John Burris has sued the Oakland police department over cases involving police brutality he likes the cameras but wonders if they will be effective.

"The issue of cameras of course is when do they get turned on and who controls when they are on and not on," he said.

The police department says all officers will be properly trained to make sure the devices are recording.

After Tuesday, the public safety committee will hand it over to the full council, and Vote on the cameras is expected by the end of the month.


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