Last Updated on March 16, 2023 by BVN
Prince James Story |
The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors approved a contract with Axon Technologies to provide their sheriff’s department with body worn cameras during its board meeting on February 28.
The approval was a long time coming. San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department participated in a pilot program of body worn cameras back in 2018. However, some technical issues were brought up, like the logistics of providing deputies with equipment to cover a 21,000 square-mile patrol area and other concerns that delayed implementation for nearly five years.
According to a press release from the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department, the first officers to wear the AXON body cameras will be Patrol Divisions – deputies, detectives, and supervisors.
As more devices become available, the Corrections Division and other specialized units will also wear the body cameras.
“We appreciate the support of the Board of Supervisors and their partnership to ensure deputies have the best possible tools available to them,” said San Bernardino Sheriff officials in the press statement. “Body-worn camera technology is an invaluable tool and one the Sheriff’s Department has sought to implement for several years.”
Over the last decade, body cameras have become a standard practice in law enforcement agencies, but many of those active in the social justice movement believe the system needs much more than body cameras.
Not everyone supports the Board’s decision.
“Cameras have not changed anything since they have been in use in other departments. The problem goes deeper than us seeing the actions of officers when interacting with the public,” Starting Over Inc Director Vonya Quarles said in a statement via email. “We must move upstream of that contact to address what’s behind police violence and why it is most often directed at Black people.”
In 2013, about 32% of local police departments used some form of body camera. By 2018, according to a report by the National Institute of Justice, “sixty percent of local police departments and 49% of sheriffs’ offices had fully deployed body-worn cameras.”
“The cameras are under the control of the officer in critical moments, and when an officer wants to go off camera, they just turn them off. So while it may be helpful in some situations … a better use of those funds would be to spend that money somewhere in the community,” Quarles stated. “Because here, we are able to see a return on the investment of our tax dollars.”