SAN DIEGO — A city audit raised concerns about how often San Diego police officers activate their body cameras.
The findings were presented to the San Diego Public Safety & Livable Neighborhoods committee Wednesday morning.
“We found that 40% of officers dispatched to incidents that required officers to record with their body camera did not have a record for the video of that incident,” said Carissa Nash, with the city’s audit department.
The auditors looked at 450 videos and reviewed 2 million records. They found 15 to 40% of officers dispatched to potential enforcement encounters from Oct. 2020 through Sept. 2021 did not record a video as required.
“That constitutes more than 243,000 times officers were dispatched to an incident and we’re likely missing a video for,” Nash said.
San Diego Police Department procedure requires officers to begin recording on the way to calls that have the potential to involve an enforcement encounter. That can mean anything from an assault with a deadly weapon to a domestic dispute.
The report found that in many cases, officers didn’t record an event in its entirety or categorized video incorrectly. Auditors said there was a lack of definitive policy when it comes to releasing video publicly, which the report says causes confusion both in the department and the public.
When it comes to video of police shootings, however, the city audit said San Diego performs exceptionally well.
“We looked at a year’s worth of officer-involved shootings,” said Danielle Knighten. “We found (the department) released each critical incident video within 10 days of the shooting, which is their goal. This is faster than the state requirement, as California law requires 45 days.”