Timeline: Police Body Cameras in San Diego

The use of body cameras by San Diego Police officers was initiated in early 2014.

At the time, the police chief wanted a way to monitor officer misconduct in the wake of several rogue officers convicted of crimes against women.

The current chief has said body cameras give the department a way to be more transparent and not only hold officers accountable but the public as well.

In May 2015, the department revised its policy on how officers would activate the recording device following a fatal police shooting in the Midway District.

Officer Neal Browder, a 27-year veteran of the department, shot and killed 42-year-old Fridoon Zalbeg Rawshannehad in an alley.

Browder was outfitted with a body camera but did not activate it before firing his weapon, according to department officials.

The SDPD launched an investigation into the details surrounding the shooting.

Here is a look at the history of body cameras in San Diego:

January 2012 - Coronado Police Department becomes the first agency to outfit its officers with personal cameras. Five are deployed in the field.

January 29, 2014 - Former SDPD Chief William Lansdowne requests body cameras. "It would help us with the misunderstandings, with lawsuits," he said. Cameras were already in the 2015 budget but Lansdowne requested the process move faster after the arrest and arraignment of former officer Christopher Hays and the investigation into SDPD officer Donald Moncrief.

The initial ask was for 100 cameras at a cost of $200,000.

March 10, 2014 - A park ranger with the City of Del Mar records a 10 minute confrontation with a reserve deputy that led to a nine-month suspension of the body camera program.

March 19, 2014 – New SDPD Chief Shelley Zimmerman proposes expanding the body camera program to outfit every officer.

April 10, 2014 - The San Diego Police Officers Association is concerned about implementation of cameras. The leadership wants to discuss policy to ensure officers' privacy.

Early April, 2014 – SDPD begins field testing with 10 body cameras worn by officers in Central Division.

May 2, 2014 – Escondido police release body camera video showing an officer rescuing a person from a fiery automobile accident.

June 9, 2014 - San Diego police officers begin training on how to use body cameras mounted on their chest, collar and glasses.

June 18, 2014 – The SDPD issues a memo regarding the use and storage of the body cameras.

June 21, 2014 - The first phase of body cameras are rolled out to police officers with future phases planned for July and August.

Discussing body cameras on NBC 7’s Politically Speaking – Assembly Member Shirley Weber, who’s sponsoring a bill to create a state task force that would establish a “best practices” manual for officer-worn body cameras, San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman, whose department is equipping its officers with the devices. and SDPD Office Ed LaValle, an expert in the technology who’ll...

Sept 18, 2014 - The U.S. Border Patrol will begin wearing cameras this year at its training academy, a test to see if the technology should be used in the field to blunt criticism about agents' use of force.

October 15, 2014 - SDPD Chief Zimmerman said video from body cameras will not be easily accessible. She also says that barring a particular complaint or court case associated with the video, the clips will be removed from storage after six months.

November 6, 2014 - Chula Vista City Council unanimously approves purchase of 114 body worn cameras, an investment the police department has been researching since 2010.

December 9, 2014El Cajon city leaders agree to research obtaining and implementing body cameras for the police force. The cameras could cost the city $75,000 and, if approved, could be rolled out in 90 days once the council conducts a series of public meetings.

December 16, 2014 - Del Mar city officials agree to reinstate body cameras for park rangers following a review of procedure.

January 2015 - The first batch of body cameras to be deployed to Chula Vista Police Officers are used in the field. A police captain tells the San Diego Union-Tribune they are not currently releasing the video to the public.

January 9, 2015 - San Diego Assembly Member Shirley Weber (D-79th) introduces AB 66, which would create a statewide task force to establish "best practices" guidelines in regards to police body cameras.

Chief Zimmerman says SDPD has more cameras in the field than any other department in the nation, “We’re the eighth largest city in the United States, and if you take all the other larger cities above us, we have more body-worn cameras out right now - 600 cameras- than all of the others combined.”

February 6, 2015 - AP reports that San Diego's five-year contract with Taser for 1,000 cameras would cost $267,000 for the devices -- but another $3.6 million for storage contracts, software licenses, maintenance, warranties and related equipment.

March 3, 2015 - The San Diego County Board of Supervisor approves the request to research outfitting deputies with cameras. The SDSO starts taking bids from 18 interested parties.

March 25, 2015 – City Council Member (District 4) Myrtle Cole shares report from Chief Zimmerman with her constituents – “In our Southeastern Division, there has been a reduction in complaints filed and a reduction in allegations made in the six months the body cameras have been deployed.”

April 16, 2015 – A body camera records a rookie cop in Ohio not using deadly force when confronted by a suspect. The officer was praised by some for showing restraint however others say it could lead to costing lives if other officers are fearful of using justified force.

April 21, 2015 – SDPD Chief Zimmerman tells city officials that after 300+ body cameras were deployed in the Southeastern, Central and Mid-City divisions, the number of complaints dropped 40 percent within six months.

Between November 2014 and January 2015, the police chief said body cameras reduced the number of use of force incidents dramatically.

April 30, 2015 - The ACLU launches a mobile app designed to help people record police incidents and prevent the video from being deleted or destroyed.

May 1, 2015 – The U.S. Department of Justice announces a $20 million pilot program to extend the use of police body cameras for “transparency.”

NBC 7 Dave Summers reports on new statistics showing how effective body cameras have been in stopping complaints against officers.
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