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Sacramento Police Department Rolls Out Body Cameras

  

The Sacramento Police Department says more than 100 officers now have a body camera and each one of its nearly 700 officers will have one by the end of summer.

Leah Antonetti is a bicycle patrol officer in downtown Sacramento. She was one of the officers who tested seven camera models from six manufacturers. She likes the new model made by Axon.

"We went with this product. It's very, very simple and easy to use. It has a longer battery life than most of the other equipment we've tested. In that aspect it's great since we do work ten hours a shift, sometimes more, we need that capability."

The unit will save the thirty seconds of video recorded prior to the button being pushed and all audio and video until the officer stops recording.

Officer Matthew McPhail says the units make it easy to mark video for review later.

"Say 15 minutes into the video, I saw the suspect drop an item of contraband as he was running. I flagged it on my camera. Easy to find on the video."

In most cases, officers will be allowed to view the video prior to writing a report. They do not have the ability to delete or edit video.

Antonetti says the devices alone have had a calming effect.

"They are being recorded and we have found when people are having some type of a crisis and they are belligerent towards us, and we show them that they are being recorded, their behavior changes quite frequently to the better. So, I love it."

Some patrol units and all of the bicycle officers have the cameras. Officers in South Sacramento are next to be outfitted.

The department is paying about $4 million over five years for the cameras, data storage, and two system upgrades.

Videos will be saved for 18 months unless it is part of an ongoing police investigation or prosecution.

A unit is attached to an officer's uniform with magnets at chest level.

Below: Officer Matthew McPhail with the Sacramento Police Department demonstrates the features of the department's new body cameras:

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