Rialto PD Outfitting All Cops With Body Cameras

(August 23) As of September 1, all of Rialto’s police officers will be outfitted with body cameras, which will make video recordings of their interaction with the community during patrol and routine operations.
Rialto is the first city in San Bernardino County and among the first cities nationwide to arm the entirety of its street police force with the miniaturized devices. The cameras, worn on the uniforms, belts or eyeglasses of the officers are distinct from vehicle cameras, which have been in vogue with many police departments for a decade or more.
Rialto first provided the cameras to a number, though not all, of its uniformed officers in February 2012. The department so far has been pleased with the results. The city has now invested over $60,000 in securing individual mini-cameras for all 66 of its patrol officers.
According to the department, the acquisition of the limited number of high-tech gadgets 18 months ago translated to an 88 percent reduction in complaints filed against officers by members of the public over their first year of use. In addition, officers reported a 60 percent drop in their use of force as members of the community have learned that the department’s members  are carrying the cameras. Videos from the cameras in some instances have augmented other information contained in police reports, serving to make evidence against certain individuals charged in court with criminal activity stronger.
The cameras will now be worn by all uniformed patrol officers during all three shifts.
Rialto appears to be on the cutting edge of a trend that is likely to become an industry standard in the coming decades. Some hail the devices as a positive development that provides a tangible record of police activity in the field. Privacy advocates have been more critical as have some others, who point out that while the cameras do provide a partial visual record of policing activity, they do so only from the vantage of the officers and largely omit depicting a clear perspective of the officers themselves and their actions.

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