Irvine police could deploy a $ 3.3 million body camera system by the summer – Orange County Register

Irvine will spend $ 3.3 million over the next five years on a system of body-worn cameras and dashcams for new vehicles, which is expected to hit the streets of the city in July.

Chief Mike Hamel said in 2020 that existing plans to equip officers with body cameras were accelerated by widespread protests in Minneapolis police custody following George Floyd’s death on Memorial Day. Irvine police officers have had dash cams in their cars since the 1990s.

On Tuesday March 9, Irvine City Council approved the purchase of the Axon car and body-worn camera system, including more than 300 cameras and cloud video storage. City officials said police would be trained on the new system and guidelines in April and May, and cameras could be deployed on site by July.

Several local residents called the meeting to urge the council not to spend the money on more law enforcement tools and instead use it to meet community needs.

With a police department budget of $ 98 million already, “$ 3.3 million could be spent on other issues to improve the lives of our community,” UC Irvine student Dinorah Hernandez told the council. “If we are really concerned about crime, we should invest in programs like addiction treatment and food aid.”

After listening to residents’ objections, Mayor Farrah Khan said body cameras for officials were one of the requests she heard from members of the community during the round table meeting she held after a local protest against Black Lives Matter.

Chief Hamel and Jade Mazzio, the police department’s business services manager, said the council’s body cameras would automatically start recording when an officer pulls out a taser but not when a gun is pulled because they are unfamiliar with the technology with which the holster is connected for this purpose.

Officials are expected to turn on their cameras for all official interactions with the public (but not when someone is simply asking for directions, for example). A key must be held down to mute the camera sound.

Videos from the cameras are retained for two years or more if they are determined to be relevant to an investigation or otherwise useful.

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