The Riverside County Board of Supervisors recently authorized Sheriff Stan Sniff to provide all patrol deputies with body-worn cameras.
To help purchase the cameras, board members agreed to accept a $577,900 grant from the United States Department of Justice-Bureau of Justice Assistance. The money, which will be allocated over the next two years, required a 50 percent match in funds from the county—money already budgeted this fiscal year.
The Riverside County Sheriffs’ Department began pilot testing body cameras in Jurupa Valley during the first quarter of 2015.
Efforts to implement body cameras in the county were initially met with strong resistance from the Riverside Sheriffs' Association (RSA).
The organization filed suit in Riverside County Superior Court against the use of Body Worn Cameras (BWCs). It sought an injunction to block their use until the union could participate in the determination of when, where and how the cameras would be used. RSA subsequently dropped its suit when a compromise was reached with sheriff department officials.
In late January, Sniff issued a countywide policy on the use of body cameras. The policy made it the patrol personnel’s responsibility to assure the BWC’s assigned to him/her is in good working order prior to going into service.
The policy also stated that, “Personnel assigned a BWC device shall generally initiate a recording prior to contacting or detaining people in the course of their duties. Once a recording is initiated, a continuous recording of the event must take place until completion of the incident or contact.”
The policy also stressed that BWC recordings shall be made of any law enforcement action where there is reason to believe it would be appropriate and valuable to record the event.” To view the sheriff’s department policy in detail visit https://www.documentcloud.org/ documents/2699342-Body-Camera-Policy.html.