Tucson police testing body-worn cameras
The technology has been around for a while -- cameras so small they can be snapped onto the side of sunglasses or clipped on a collar. Agencies across the country are testing officer-worn cameras, including the Tucson Police Department.Photo: Video by kgun9.com
TUCSON(KGUN9-TV) - The technology has been around for a while -- cameras so small they can be snapped onto the side of sunglasses or clipped on a collar. Agencies across the country are testing officer-worn cameras, including the Tucson Police Department.
"Just about every action we do in this world now, there's a good chance it's going to be captured on video. So, why not use that technology to help us do a better job and to help us be more effective in what we do to provide public safety," Chief Roberto Villaseñor said.
Only a handful of Tucson police are actually using the cameras during the months-long testing phase.
Officer Brett Kaczynski is one of the few. He has been wearing the clip-on cam for about four months now, "When you review the video you can say, 'oh wow, he was actually doing this, this and this on top of the things that I observed."
Chief Villaseñor says other agencies already using the cameras have seen a dramatic drop in use of force issues and complaints.
"I haven't really seen a down yet to the technology that's out there," Chief Villaseñor added.
The video has also been known to vindicate officers accused of false complaints and on the flip side, provide evidence for personnel issues. The video proof speeds up the internal investigation, which Villaseñor says, saves time and taxpayer money.
The Phoenix Police Department has also been testing the cams as part of a year-long study with Arizona State University.
"We got a control group. We've got a test group. Let's see what is the impact on investigation of crime as well as investigation in behavior again on officers and the community," Phoenix Police Department Sgt. Tommy Thompson told 9OYS.
In Tucson, the testing will continue for the next couple months. Chief Villaseñor hopes to start the purchase process within a year. Before any decision is made, he will go to Mayor and Council for approval.
Chief Villaseñor says he is trying to go through the police foundation for funding. If they get the go ahead, they plan to purchase about 500 cameras.