Body cams quickly becoming new tool for law enforcement in Monterey County

Dec 3, 2014

Demonstration still of a body camera in use.
Credit TASER AXON body

Several Monterey County police departments are moving forward with body camera technology to help document specific on-duty officer interactions with the public.

This week, Greenfield became the first department in the county to institute the technology. King City, Soledad and Salinas are expected to follow soon.

Salinas Police Chief Kelly McMillan says his department—by far the largest of any Central Coast police department—will purchase as many as 125 cameras.

"Given recent events in Salinas, I really felt it was important to accelerate the body-worn camera program and so I did something I'm really reluctant to do, which is go to private funders for what I think really is the rightful purview of the city to pay for," said McMillan regarding the $150,000 raised to pay for the cameras and their operation.

Chief McMillan says the cost for the cameras is relatively small in comparison to the cost of paying for the video storage. He says his department plans to use cloud-based storage, and they're now beginning to test the products.

The Greenfield Police Department went with a dedicated server to store their daily video footage. Most of their funding came from a $10,000 CalGRIP grant. The testing and training stages are complete for the department with full implementation of the system put in place on Tuesday.

On Monday, Gonzales joined the list of cities planning to equip their police departments with body cameras with approval to fund the program by the City Council.