San Diego's Top Cop Discusses Public Access to Body Camera Video - NBC 7 San Diego

San Diego's Top Cop Discusses Public Access to Body Camera Video

San Diego Police body camera video won't be easily accessible to the public



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    All San Diego Police officers will soon be wearing cameras on pockets and lapels maybe even behind an ear. However, the video recorded won't be easily accessible to the public.

    That question was one of several poised by concerned citizens and members of the media at a panel held Tuesday night.

    Under current department policy, recordings won't be made public unless San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman decides it's for the betterment of the community.

    Zimmerman said some recordings are already being used to investigate current citizen complaints.

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    Unless there is a particular complaint of court case associated with the video, the clips will be removed from storage after six months.

    Complaints of brutality, sexual misconduct and racial profiling lead San Diego police to outfit all officers by next year with their own body cameras.

    The Society of Professional Journalists assembled a round table of community leaders including Zimmerman and representatives from the NAACP and the ACLU.

    Audience member Letitia Flynn supported the use of the cameras.

    " It would make me behave properly," Flynn said. "I want to be on the right side."

    However, she disagreed with the policy on public access.

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    "They really need to make them available to the public," Flynn said.

    Zimmerman says the cameras will activate at the point of enforcement. Officers are only required to tell a citizen they are recording if asked even if it's in a private home.

    "It's accountability for our police officers. I's also accountability for the public too," Zimmerman said.

    Officers are responsible for storing the video and turning cameras on and off, she said, adding that if an officer intentionally does not record a stop then they are going to be subject to discipline up to and including termination.

    The police union, NAACP, and ACLU all represented on the panel back the use of body cameras on police officers.

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