SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) --A group of 20 San Jose police officers were issued the department's first body-worn cameras that they wore on patrol Wednesday, a rollout that the chief called a "historical moment."
"When individuals have contact with the police, and their perception of what occurred differs from what the police department said occurred, then we're going to know what actually is the truth," San Jose Police Department Chief Eddie Garcia said.
WATCH VIDEO: Minority groups speak out about SJPD body cameras
These officers will be the first to use the new technology after going through a four-hour training Wednesday afternoon.
Jason Reyes lost his cousin Anthony Nunez in an officer-involved shooting last week in east San Jose. He believes the cameras will make law enforcement think twice. "It keeps the people accountable, and it's good because good police officers have nothing to worry about, and the bad ones do," Reyes said.
But some question if body cameras will make much of a difference.
Two and a half years ago, Antonio Guzman-Lopez was shot to death by San Jose State university police after they believed he was threatening them with a blade.
Body camera footage was available in that case, but not released publicly. Lopez's common-law partner Laurie Valdez has since made it her mission to demand transparency. "I got to learn how to push forward, and try to bring all these negative emotions that are hurt inside me, and try to bring something positive, that's the only way I can keep Antonio's memory alive for my son, Josiah," Santa Clara resident Laurie Valdez said.
The program will cost $4.4 million over the next five years.
SJSU justice studies professor Jess Guy sees the cameras as being a valuable training tool. "Cadets in police problems can look at these camera recordings and see what was done right, or wrong, and that will give them an eye into how things happen, and that's a good thing," he said.
The majority of the department should be outfitted by the end of the year.
Officers will be required to activate the cameras for almost every police call and face-to-face citizen encounter.
Click here for full coverage on police body cameras.
Bay City News contributed to this story.