El Cajon police to be equipped with body cameras

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Body cameras are now on the docket for the El Cajon Police Department. This trend that is taking hold across the nation is an essential part in creating a trust between our law enforcement agencies and the community they serve. Especially with the current state of trust for the police force, and the riotous communities that are demanding more transparency in police involved shootings.

 

Body cameras are now on the docket for the El Cajon Police Department. This trend that is taking hold across the nation is an essential part in creating a trust between our law enforcement agencies and the community they serve. Especially with the current state of trust for the police force, and the riotous communities that are demanding more transparency in police involved shootings.

This is a smart move by the El Cajon Police Department with the backing of the San Diego County District Attorneys office. El Cajon will be equipped with body cameras at the beginning of 2017.

There are two Town Hall meetings with the District Attorney’s office that will help make decisions on when and how these videos, when needed, are released to the public. One held on May 11 and the second on May 17 at 6:30 p.m. at Cherokee Point Elementary School. Whether or not you stand for pure transparency or on a need to know basis, it is important that our communities get involved with the process. This is a delicate matter that has a deep grey area on what is right and what infringes on the rights of the people and the officers involved. All of this has to be taken into consideration.

In creating a video release policy, I believe that first of all, it cannot be a blanket policy. This is going to have to be determined on a case-by-case basis. In doing so, this protects the victims, the alleged criminals and our law enforcement. But determining this is not an easy task. There are many factors to ponder before releasing body camera videos. This is not a solution to our current national problem, but it is an aid in determining the actions of all people involved in any incident. If handled incorrectly it can ruin the life of any officer and in turn damage the credibility of an “alleged” offender.

Of course if there is gross maleficence that proves one way or the other, I am in strong belief that these videos should be released. If there is any doubt on either side of the equation though, there needs to be a policy intact that protects the civil rights of the people and the officers involved.

Overall, I am a strong believer in body and vehicle cams. Although some officers may disagree, it is a system that can protect them in the long run. It could be the saving factor in an officer involved shooting and in most cases the public deserves to know all the facts. Not just those written in reports, but the physical evidence that the cameras provide. This is a system that is sorely needed, not only in our communities, but also throughout the country. There is too much unrest and distrust between law enforcement and communities that is getting out of control when uninformed or misinformed. This leads to nothing but chaos and doubt.

I commend the El Cajon Police Department and the City of El Cajon for supporting the use of body cameras and believe that in looking forward, rather than back, they made a sound decision. This will assist the officers in their daily jobs and bring peace of mind to both the officers and the community. We do not want what we are seeing on the news almost daily to come to East County and this is a strong proactive approach in preventing it.

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