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Paso Robles police to test out body cameras - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Paso Robles police to test out body cameras

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Paso Robles police test out body cameras. (KSBY) Paso Robles police test out body cameras. (KSBY)

Police body cameras have become increasingly popular in departments across the country, with the goal of adding transparency for both police and the public. The Paso Robles Police Department is now testing some body cameras out itself. 

The Pismo Beach, Grover Beach, Atascadero, and San Luis Obispo police departments are using body cams. Now, Paso Robles police officers will be wearing them as well. Officers say it's a great tool to look back at evidence and resolve any discrepancies.   
 
The new body cameras are in addition to the Paso Robles Police Department's patrol car dash cameras. 

"Policy mandates that the officers wear them in a conspicuous location so that it's obvious to everyone that they have a body-worn camera on," said Lt. Tim Murphy of the Paso Police Department. 

Officers are required to turn them on every time they come in contact with a citizen. However, they are not required to tell the citizen that they are recording. 

"It's a good thing this day and age. A lot of people want to accuse us of doing things. I think more times than not these things are going to disprove those claims," said Paso Robles Police Officer Joshua Hermanson. 
 
"The people in the community get a front row seat to see what actually happened out there," said Murphy. 

The Paso Robles Police Department received eight cameras for the testing period. They cost $300 each. If the department decides to permanently use them, funding will come from grants and the department's general fund.   

"Body cameras for us have been a great training tool at times," said Atascadero Police Chief Jerel Haley. 

Atascadero police have used body cams for FIVE months now and are looking to upgrade the devices this spring.
  
"With one button it will activate both the in-car video system and the body cam system. It gives the officers a little bit less to think about as they are getting out preparing to contact individuals," said Haley. 
 
Under California law, police departments must keep body cam footage for one year. The public can request the footage through the court system but officers say it's a case by case basis. 
 
The San Luis Obispo Police Department has used body cams for about one year. They have recently received a grant for all 27 patrol officers to wear them. 

The Grover Beach and Pismo Beach police departments have used them for about five years and say the cameras have helped tremendously when it comes to officer training and looking back at evidence. 
 

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