Wasco body cameras leading to more plea deals and less court time, among other things

WASCO, Calif. - One year in and the Kern County Sheriff's Office said it is seeing the benefits of body cameras at its Wasco substation.
 
More plea deals and less court time, among other things.
 
"We've had a reduction in citizen complaints at the substation, significantly," said Sgt. Ian Chandler.
 
Chandler said that's because body-worn cameras are taking away any he said she said.
 
"Whatever is on the camera is on the camera," Chandler said.
 
Deputies wear the camera at all times but only record when called for service.
 
"For instance if I had a citizen complaint that a citizen came and talked to me, it would not be recorded because that's an administrative situation.  But if you call for a burglary or have a domestic violence issue, traffic stop or anything like that, they are on during those contacts," Chandler said. 
 
Deputies download the video on a secure server that does not have any editing capabilities.
 
Only three people have access to all of the video, Chandler being one of them
 
"I'm able to actually see how they (deputies) treat and deal with the public," Chandler said.
 
Copies are only made for the District Attorney's Office. 
 
"When we have body worn camera video for a complaint that goes to the D.A. Office, it increased their pleas and it's shortened the time that the court process goes on because we're not going to trail for things because it's right there.  We have the video that shows that's what actually happened and then we get the pleas," Chandler said.
 
The City of Wasco purchased the cameras at $925 a piece with the help of a state grant.  
 
Storage is the priciest part of using body cameras but the substation has help from its car camera storage system.
 
One year in and the cameras have almost recorded 8 terabytes worth of data. 
 
The substation is looking into purchasing more storage.
 

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