Manteca Police are relying on technology to tell the story of what happens out on the streets. Their patrol officers will soon be equipped with body cameras.
“If we know that we’re on camera do we act a different way? Sure. And I believe it will change the pattern of contact with certain individuals,” Manteca Police Chief Nick Obligacion said.
Manteca police cruisers already have dash cameras. The body cameras will be worn on the officer’s chest, and will provide a closer look into their encounters. Chief Obligacion says it will be useful in any officer encounter when a citizen wishes to dispute events that took place.
FOX40 News brought you graphic dash camera video back in 2011, when Ernest Duenez Jr. was shot and killed by a Manteca police officer. The police department used that dash camera video as evidence and was cleared for their use of deadly force. Duenez’s family and friends contend his shooting death was not justified. An attorney representing Duenez’s family has filed a lawsuit against the city of Manteca and its police department for excessive force and wrongful death.
“We wont talk about that particular case but any tool they could use to better their productivity, make them safer. Any officers gonna want,” Obligacion said.
Obligacion said officers will wear the body cameras at all times, but are not expected to turn them on for all encounters.
“Depending on officer safety, there’s a chance he may not be able to activate it. We will encourage it but we don’t want to jeopardize officer safety for the mere fact of getting it turned on,” Obligacion said.
Manteca police expect to roll out their new body camera program by April. The video will be saved for 366 days, and hosted on a cloud server.