Council to vote on police car cameras

Item will be on consent agenda on Tueday, June 21

In a study session on Tuesday morning, the town council discussed the implementation of in-car camera technology for the police department. The item will be placed on the council's June 21 consent agenda for public vote.

"The cameras are not just beneficial for us, but for everyone involved," said Police Chief Steve Simpkins. "It is yet another way that we can be transparent in what we're doing."

Simpkins proposed adding cameras to 13 patrol cars and two motorcycles at a cost of $120,000. The cameras would be installed in the department's six new Chevrolet Caprice cars that are scheduled to arrive some time in August.

The in-car camera project has been in development since January 2009 and an in-house trial of the L3 Mobile Vision Camera system was conducted this January. According to town documents, data from the cameras would be stored in a separate secure location and with non-sensitive information deleted after one year.

Funding for the cameras would come from a subset of vehicle licensing fees called un-appropriated supplemental law enforcement services funds, which may be cut from the state budget later this year.

Several local law enforcement agencies, including the San Ramon police department and East Bay Regional Parks District, already have in-car cameras.

"Cameras were activated during some pretty significant incidents in San Ramon and it was really helpful for everyone," Simpkins said.


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Posted by Mike
a resident of Danville
on Jun 11, 2011 at 10:56 pm

From the linked document: 15 cameras for $132,184 that won't come out of town funds it looks like.

Not a bad deal, should be better for the public and officers if complaints during stops come up.

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Posted by John Tanner
a resident of Diablo
on Jun 14, 2011 at 8:59 am

I am sure the republicans like this one. This appears to be an extension of the military-industrial complex pricing model.
15 cameras for $132,000??? About $8,800 per camera?
I thought $600 toilet seats were expensive!

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Posted by Concerned
a resident of Danville
on Jun 14, 2011 at 9:37 am

What funds would the purchase of these cameras come from? Will the content of the films be available for citizens for their protection? It's already a given that police can lie "legally" to intimidate citizens. If police were required to act like citizens ie not lie, not speed, not intimidate, they wouldn't need the cameras to cover their actions. Where does it stop - this big brother looking into our lives. If these cameras are to protect the police instead of the citizens, I say "NO".

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Posted by Duffy
a resident of Danville
on Jun 16, 2011 at 7:37 am

"Smile.... Your on candid camera!" I think it would be helpful if the purpose of the cameras were more clearly explained. It also would be good reporeting to indicate that this is not free government money. It is taxpayer money!

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Posted by FanDanville
a resident of Danville
on Jun 16, 2011 at 11:50 am

1. Generally speaking, I don't dislike the idea of the camera recordings.
2. But the high price is disturbing! These GOVERNMENT PROJECTS are always so over-priced and over-expensive. Slush funds for the companies selling to government.
And usually the on-going costs (maintenance, operational, supplies, training, etc) are not really factored in or fully disclosed.
3. There are a LOT of details that need to be thought through here--details that have NOT been disclosed to the public. So it seems very premature to be deciding on BUYING the cameras, before deciding on and agreeing to the usage rules.
It is unclear HOW and WHO will be allowed to utilize the footage....and how that could change over time.
One thing that I think should be explicitly established is that no COMMERCIAL, money-making use of the footage be allowed. No "Bad Boys, Bad Boys" shows. No news media releases.
Another thing that should be disallowed is any use to intentionally "embarrass" any specific town person (who is otherwise innocent until proven guilty).
These things just feed into too much gossip and speculation.
But pre-courtroom investigation usage is good. And courtroom evidence usage is good.
There should also be adequate "disclosure" of the presence of the camera to all participants involved. Not just only the police knowing of the camera.
And will there be an "always on" policy...or what. Do we want the police deciding on "when" the camera will be turned on or off?
Will there be a "live feed" to a remote location....or just tape?
So many little disclosure.

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Posted by Susan
a resident of Danville
on Jun 16, 2011 at 12:53 pm

I'm 100% for this - I'm surprised Danville doesn't already have these in place. Citizen safety in our town and for our residents is part of what our Town stands for. Law abiding people have no fears - criminals - be intimidated and beware. Citizen security and safety should always be a primary focus for our great Town. Great job Chief Simpkins and Town of Danville Leaders!

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