Anaheim police may soon be wearing body-mounted cameras while on patrol, due to Tuesday's unanimous decision by the Anaheim City Council to approve $1.15 million for the purchase of 250 cameras for this purpose.
We can expect to see the first officers wearing body-mounted cameras starting in November, and by April all patrol officers are expected to be wearing cameras. They can record audio and video and may provide useful information and evidence regarding officer conduct, though there are concerns about recording witnesses, victims or confidential informants. Specific issues regarding recording, including when cameras are turned on and whether officers will have control over turning them on and off need to be ironed out in detail.
Using cameras is part of the police department's efforts to increase transparency and, according to the Anaheim Police Association, to protect officers against false allegations, following officer-involved shootings that took place in 2012, spurring civil unrest in the area.
Body-mounted cameras, like cameras mounted in patrol cars and interrogation rooms, may also influence driving under the influence (DUI) charges. This is an issue that we at the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry are considering. If an officer records the entire duration of the stop, field sobriety testing and arrest, this recording could yield crucial information not only regarding the officer's conduct but also regarding the attitude and behavior of the allegedly drunk driver. The video may also yield invaluable information regarding field sobriety tests, which could show errors in their administration or improper grading by the arresting officer.
Recordings from body-mounted cameras may also bring about new complexities when it comes to DUI cases. Will such videos be considered admissible as evidence, and how much weight should they carry? Generally speaking, the police department would be prohibited from editing such video before turning them over, to avoid any type of foul play. Even with specific standards in place, some issues will likely need to be handled on a case-by-case basis until such recordings are more commonplace in DUI and other criminal cases.
For more information and insight regarding DUI arrests and charges in Orange County, call a DUI attorney at our firm. We can offer straightforward answers to your most pressing questions and concerns.