WALNUT CREEK (KRON) — Body cameras will soon be added to uniforms of police officers in Walnut Creek.
The police chief made the recommendation Tuesday night, and the city council unanimously approved the body-worn cameras.
However, one city councilmember tells KRON4 why he was initially skeptical about the idea.
Body cameras are coming to the Walnut Creek Police Department. Video shows police chief Tom Chaplin making his pitch for the new technology at Tuesday night’s city council meeting.
The chief’s recommendation for the cameras received unanimous approval.
“Those of us that expressed some concerns, and I did as well,” city councilmember Bob Simmons said.
Simmons said initially he wasn’t quite sure there was a need for Walnut Creek officers to wear body cameras in this relatively quiet East Bay town.
“Our police department has a very high level of trust within the community,” Simmons said. “We have a very low-level use-of-force-rate, and so we have an excellent police force, and so some of us were saying, ‘Do we really need this?'”
However, the spokesperson for the Walnut Creek Police Department, Lt. Lanny Edwards, views body cameras as a part of 21st century policing.
“It is a part of modern day policing,” Edwards said. “It’s getting to the point where those who don’t have cameras are almost the exception instead of the rule,” Edwards said.
The city council approved the acquisition of 100 cameras.
“It is really a three-phase plan, and they start to roll it out slowly, with about 15 people at the beginning, and they will expand it over a period of about a year, year-and-a-half,” Simmons said.
The body worn camera program includes costs for storage, hiring a fulltime administrative analyst, and a part-time public records technician, among other things, bringing the total cost for a three-year contract to $500,000.