Miramar Marines first to use body cameras

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SAN DIEGO – Marines in San Diego have a new high-tech tool to help improve security.

MCAS Miramar is the first Marine Corps base to implement a body camera program.

MCAS Miramar is the first Marine Corps base to implement a body camera program.

MCAS Miramar is the first Marine Corps base to implement a body camera program. Each of the military police officers are outfitted with a body camera, so the body cameras are in place at each gate.

“In today’s environment and the way the world has changed, the new normal is we have to be prepared for any kind of threat that’s out there,” said Lt. Col. Scott Rooker, MCAS Miramar’s provost marshall.

Rooker said with the help of San Diego police and its body camera program, they’re providing better security for everyone.

More: Report: Complaints down since SDPD started wearing body cameras

“It helps to increase the security for those officers. They feel much more comfortable. It helps them in their investigative endeavors, it helps them in their policies and procedures, it makes them better officers overall because they can go look at it for training purposes to see how they reacted to a situation and figure out what they can do better,” Rooker said.

The program has been in the testing phase for almost a year and has been in full effect since November. Officials say it’s already helped in several situations.

“Generally, they’re going to look for cues for when they need to turn the camera on. So they’re going to try to judge temperament and intent of a suspect or an individual as they come to the gate or if they’re on a traffic stop. Or if they respond to call at a business or residence on base. They’ll immediately start assessing the situation and depending on what’s going on, they’ll make the call to turn the camera on,” Rooker said.

Though only months old, the program has been so successful, Marine higher-ups are looking at Miramar as a template to implement the body cameras at other Marine bases.

“We want to make sure we have the best capabilities and technology for our people for their safety and security and to ensure we can do the very best job we can to protect the military personnel that work and live on this base,” Rooker said.