Salinas Police Department Wins Grant to Buy Body Cameras

Release Date/Time: 12/1/2014 11:00 AM

Incident: Salinas Police Department Wins Grant to Buy Body Cameras

Date: Monday, 12/1/2014

Time: 11:00 AM

Location: Salinas Police Department

Release Authorized by: Spencer Critchley, Acting PIO

Telephone: (831) 998-3000

The Salinas Police Department will be able to go ahead with a longstanding plan to equip its officers with body worn cameras, thanks to a $100,000 grant by the nonprofit Monterey Peninsula Foundation.

The grant was announced by Police Chief Kelly McMillin at a press conference today at the police department.

"We are delighted and grateful to receive this generous gift from the Foundation," said Chief McMillin. "Body worn cameras are a proven tool for supporting accuracy, accountability and transparency. Those are critical priorities for us, for the public and for the all-important relationship between us."

The Foundation's grant will be augmented by more than $49,000 in discretionary funds previously made available by the Bureau of State and Community Corrections under Assembly Bill 109, the public safety realignment measure that allows for the transfer of low-level offenders from state to local incarceration.

The Chief has wanted to buy body cameras for the department since he was appointed to his current role in 2011, but was prevented by the severe budget constraints faced by both the Department and the City.

In June, he applied to the Monterey Peninsula Foundation for grant funding, and the MPF board recently voted to approve the application.

With the grant money in hand, the Police Department will now move forward in choosing from among a variety of systems offered by different manufacturers.

'We're primarily looking for reliability, resolution, security and cost-effectiveness,” said Commander Mike Groves, whose duties include forensic technology. 'We've been testing alternatives for about three months, so we're already well on our way. We expect to take a recommendation to the City Council within the next two to three months.”

Body worn cameras attach to an officer's uniform and record everything he or she does during an interaction with a member of the public. The recording is then transferred to a secure server after the officer's shift. In order to protect both evidence integrity and the public's privacy rights, access to the footage is tightly controlled, and no one is able to access or alter it unnoticed.

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