El Cajon to outfit police force with body cameras

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EL CAJON, Calif. — The city of El Cajon announced Tuesday it plans to buy body cameras for its entire police force.

El Cajon police Chief Jeff Davis wants 88 cameras by the start of 2017 at a cost of $160,000. He said they would be paid for through state and federal grants.

“Trust is a big issue. This technology is available now, why not use it?” Davis said. “There’s a perception of a lack of transparency and if wearing the cameras helps us get over that hurdle. I don’t think there’s any police department that’s against it right now.”

Davis said the department is working on developing a policy regarding when video evidence would become public.

“I think we’re still defining the use of these devices,” he added.

San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis will host two town hall meetings to hear public input on how to draft their video evidence release policy.

"We first began talking about this after the Midway shooting where we did release the video. We’ve been talking about putting the video out in this day and age and to doing it responsibly,” Dumanis said.

Dumanis released body camera video evidence Friday in three shooting cases reviewed by her office. She said she wanted a policy that not only serves the public interest, but preserves individual rights.

The first of two town hall meetings will be Wednesday at 6 p.m. on the second floor of the Jacobs Center in San Diego.

The second meeting will be May 17 at 6:30 p.m. at Cherokee Point Elementary School.

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