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South Lake Tahoe, Calif., Police to Purchase Body Cams

South Lake Tahoe on Tuesday approved a $470,000 purchase of body cameras and vehicle cameras for police officers, along with assigning a full-time employee to help with data storage and public record requests.

by Rosalio Ahumada, The Sacramento Bee / July 29, 2020
Shutterstock/Lutsenko_Oleksandr

(TNS) — The South Lake Tahoe, Calif., City Council on Tuesday approved a $470,000 purchase of body cameras and vehicle cameras for police officers, along with assigning a full-time employee to help with data storage and public record requests.

The purchase from a company called Axon will include 42 body cameras and 28 vehicle cameras, along with online cloud base storage for both. The City Council approved the resolution in a 5-0 vote at its meeting broadcast online Tuesday.

The cameras will have a feature that automatically starts recording even if an officer fails to turn them on, according to a news release from the city of South Lake Tahoe.

The cameras will automatically turn on when the police vehicle’s lights are activated or the vehicle is involved in a collision, according to a city staff report. The cameras also will start automatically recording as soon as an officer pulls a sidearm or Taser from its holster.

“This kind of technology is exactly what our city needs for transparency and accountability,” South Lake Tahoe police Lt. Shannon Laney said in the news release. “The department has been working on deploying body cameras for years, and we are looking forward to getting them on our officers and out on the streets.”

City officials also said if an officer is in range of another officer with a camera on, the backup officer’s cameras will turn on automatically.

Research shows officer body cameras promote “more positive and compliant interactions” between residents and police, according to Laney. The video camera footage also will help with investigations and prosecutions, along with increasing officer safety, Laney said.

The cameras also come with a real-time alerting system that provides GPS location data to police supervisors and dispatchers when an officer’s camera is activated. It also tells them what activated the camera, according to the news release.

“Body cameras keep our police officers and our residents and visitors safe,” South Lake Tahoe Police Chief David Stevenson said in the news release. “This is just another level of transparency we are adding to our police officers who work every day to keep our city safe.”

©2020 The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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