San Jose finalizes agreement on body cameras for cops

Bay City News
Friday, May 15, 2015
San Jose Police Department front gates
San Jose Police Department front gates (KGO-TV)

MARIN COUNTY, Calif. -- San Jose has finalized a policy for the use of body-worn cameras by police officers and will soon begin equipping all officers with the devices, city officials said today.

The policy was developed in an agreement between the city and the San Jose Police Officers Association. It is designed to not only increase accountability for officers, but also to protect the privacy rights of victims, witnesses and bystanders, city officials said.

Among other protections, the policy prohibits videotaping free speech demonstrations, according to the city.

Today's agreement ends lengthy negotiations between the city and the POA over the use of the cameras. The department already began testing them late last year with 12 officers who volunteered for the project.

"Today's agreement with the SJPOA on a body-worn camera policy strengthens the bonds between our officers and community and makes a great police department even better," Mayor Sam Liccardo said in a statement. "I remain committed to deploying body-worn cameras on every patrol officer in San Jose during the coming fiscal year."

POA spokesman Tom Saggau said the pact demonstrates a degree of cooperation between the city and the POA that has been all too rare in recent years, which have seen heated debates over salary and pensions.

"The level of cooperation is something that we haven't seen in some time, and we're hoping we can build upon that cooperation to address some of the other issues that we're working on," Saggau said. "When you get folks around the table who want to solve a problem, this is a good thing to build upon."