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Police to hold public discussion over body worn cameras
body cameras
Officers in the Turlock Police Department will soon have a new piece of equipment with them out on patrol — body cameras (Photo contributed).

The Turlock Police Department is hosting a community workshop Thursday night to discuss the department’s policy on the body cameras that officers will soon be wearing.

In June, the Turlock City Council agreed to a five-year contract with Axon Enterprises to provide the Turlock Police Department with body worn cameras for its officers. The cameras will include all the associated hardware, software, cloud storage for the data, as well as tasers. The cost will be around $900,000 over a five-year period and will come from the department’s share of Proposition 172 funds and the Small Equipment Replacement and Realignment Fund. The City’s General Fund will not be used.

The 82 cameras the department will be purchasing are with the most advanced technology available, allowing the department to conduct a more comprehensive review of critical incidents, assist in investigating complaints from community members, and increased evidence for criminal prosecution. In addition, these body worn cameras will be equipped with GPS location functions and automatic gunshot detection which will increase officer safety. The system has gunshot detection, which will automatically start the recording from 30 seconds prior and will alert dispatch and command staff with the GPS location. The camera systems are also equipped with Bluetooth, so images will be viewable on the officers’ cell phones in real time.

The data generated by the body cameras is encrypted and cannot be altered, as such it can be used to document crime scenes and used in court proceedings.

The approximately one-hour community meeting will include a rough draft of the policy will be available for review. Community suggestions will be encouraged and there will be time set aside to answer any questions the public may have.

“I want to be as transparent as possible about our body worn camera policy and implementation. This meeting is an opportunity for the police department to work collaboratively with members of our community to review and provide input of our policy which will serve to build upon the great trust and relationship we currently enjoy with our community,” said Turlock Police Chief Nino Amirfar.

The meeting is set for 6 p.m. Thursday in the Training Room at the Turlock Police Department, located at 244 N. Broadway.