The Danville Town Council is set to discuss approving for the first time purchasing body cameras for town police officers Tuesday night.
The new cameras would enhance crime prevention and officer safety while also promoting officer accountability and increased department transparency, police chief Steve Simpkins said in his staff report to the council.
"Body worn cameras are being used by a growing number of police agencies to close the significant gaps in coverage of interactions between officers and members of the public," Simpkins said. "(They) have significant value from an investigative standpoint and also encourage civilized behavior from subjects who realize they are being recorded."
The police chief said he recommends buying 35 body cameras that have pre-recording capability and are easy to use, easy to download and provide appropriate video and audio quality for use in court.
The camera equipment would cost $58,052 to purchase and require annual operating costs of $45,115 to support ongoing use, Simpkins said. The devices, manufactured by TASER International, will have a 12-hour battery life, and the purchase agreement would include secure off-site video data storage and equipment replacement, he added.
The department's use of body cameras will be governed by the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office policy on mobile audio, video and body-worn cameras, Simpkins said. The town contracts with the sheriff's office for police services.
Danville police already use cameras on patrol cars and Tasers, according to the police chief.
The body-camera proposal heads to the Town Council for approval during its meeting Tuesday night, set to start at 7:30 p.m. in the Town Meeting Hall, 201 Front St.
In other business
* Simpkins will give an update report on recent programs, trends and activities for his department as well as introduce the council to new police personnel.
* The council will consider extending the permit for the Pacific Coast Farmers' Market Association to operate the Saturday farmers market in the Railroad Avenue municipal parking lot.
* Council members will announce recruitment for openings on the Heritage Resource Commission, youth positions on the Parks and Leisure Services and Arts commissions and a Danville representative on the Contra Costa County Advisory Council on Aging.