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The Watsonville Police Department will be equipping officers with body-worn cameras this summer.
The City Council approved the project on March 26, 2019, after a group of officers spent months testing different body-worn cameras.
$451,152.18 from Measure G and $20,575 from a federal grant will be used to purchase the 75 cameras, equipment, and software needed to run the program.
“We strive for transparency and we know that the new body cams will enhance those efforts,” said Michelle Pulido, Watsonville Police Department’s Spokeswoman.
Officer Saul Valadez was one of several officers testing the body-worn cameras.
“So for me, it was super beneficial having this body camera. After every arrest or every citation, I could go back, review the video and write a detailed report for that incident,” Officer Valadez explained. “I also think that these body cameras will help build community relations. It really holds up accountable and it shows how transparent we are with our incidents.”
Officers will be mandated to turn on body cameras when taking any sort of enforcement action. Once activated, the body-worn camera reverts 30 seconds of video.
Officers will need to upload the body camera footage to a cloud at the end of their shift.
“Once the videos get uploaded into the cloud, officers can go back and review all the videos through an online system called evidence.com and it’s as easy as clicking a button,” Officer Valadez said.
Officers will not be able to delete any parts of their footage. The original video will always be the original video. However, we will have the capability to blur a person’s face to protect his/her identity.
Please note, the body camera pictured above is similar to the ones we’ll be ordering.