San Jose police deploy body-worn cameras

San Jose police will begin deploying officers with body-worn cameras on Wednesday that will appear as a small black box attached to their uniforms and be used to aid their investigations.

The officers will be trained to use a Taser Axon Body 2 camera, one of three models tested by the department during a three-month period last year.

The San Jose City Council last month approved a resolution to purchase a system that includes 963 cameras from Taser International Inc., based in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The city agreed to a contract with the company for the system estimated to cost more than $4 million for a five-year term ending in June 2021.

Taser’s proposal met city criteria for the system including unlimited storage capacity, lightweight cameras and a cloud-based management software, according to a May 20 memo by police Chief Eddie Garcia and city Finance Director Julia Cooper.

The department received positive feedback on the company’s cameras when conferring with San Diego police and Charlotte-Mecklenburg police in North Carolina, according to the memo.

The wireless camera has a battery that lasts for more than 12 hours, records up to 70 hours of content and allows the user to tag important parts in the footage, according to the company’s website.

Under department policy, officers cannot take out the hardware or software from the cameras and are responsible for making sure the device is completely charged and properly functioning before their shift.

Any videos for incidents involving officers such as shootings or in-custody deaths must immediately be downloaded into the department’s storage system, according to the policy.

It is recommended that officers activate the cameras during situations that involve force, confrontations, assaults or enforcement, the policy states.

Officers should turn off the cameras during private conversations such as with their spouse or attorney, according to the policy.

Other situations where officers ought to turn off the cameras include encounters with a possible witness seeking anonymity, tactical briefings and strip searches, the policy states.