OFF THE WIRE
Danville police may soon add cameras to police patrol cars and motorcycles
By Eric Louie Contra Costa Times Posted: 06/15/2011 11:51:27 AM PDT Updated: 06/15/2011 07:17:21 PM PDT
DANVILLE -- Police patrol cars and motorcycles soon may be fitted with cameras.
The Town Council, with members Robert Storer and Mike Doyle absent, discussed the issue Tuesday during a study session. No vote was taken, and the matter likely will be placed on the June 21 council meeting's "consent agenda," in which noncontroversial items are grouped to be passed in a single vote, Mayor Karen Stepper said.
The police department, which the town pays for under a contract with the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Department, first suggested the cameras in 2009. The council considered it that year and now, after determining police needs and viewing the results of some field trials, it has been decided that L-3 Mobile Vision equipment would work best, according to a staff report.
The cost for equipment and installation in the town's 13 patrol cars and two motorcycles would be about $120,000. Any nonsensitive information would be destroyed after a year. Other local police agencies using cameras include San Ramon, East Bay Regional Parks, Tracy, Brentwood and Benicia.
Stepper said there would be some small ongoing operational costs, which would total about $5,000 yearly.
Benefits cited by the town include deterring assaults against officers, increasing safety and reducing liability complaints.
Stepper said the technology, which include both video and sound, would be installed within the year.
She said the decision had nothing to do with the Contra Costa Central Narcotics Enforcement Team scandal that includes a former Danville officer accused of working with a private investigation agency and taking part in setup arrests of men accused of driving under the influence.