The City of Stockton’s mayor is proposing to use money from a voter-passed measure to pay for police body cameras.
Measure A is meant to pay for crime prevention by raising the city’s sales tax, according to the measure’s guideline. But the majority of the $29-million may already be set for another police expense.
Police body cameras are meant to capture everything without prejudice.
“Obviously, there’s always rumors and public opinion about what transpired and so if you have cameras, basically you always know the truth,” Mayor Anthony Silva explained to FOX40 on Thursday.
But to outfit the entire force of 371 Stockton Police officers, with a $400 to $1,000 camera, means a six figure expense.
“But we just passed measure A and Measure A brings close to 29 million a year to the city,” he said.
Newly passed Measure A money puts millions of dollars toward crime prevention. The mayor is hoping the money will get body cameras to police officers sooner.
“I think it will also reduce the citizen complaints because you’re not going to file a false complaint on a police officer if you know something didn’t happen,” Silva said.
It’s not just complaints. Silva said he’s hoping the police body cameras will also help them out in the courtroom.
“Because people aren’t going to file a frivolous lawsuit if they know there’s going to be some videotape,” he said.
While the benefits of the the body cameras can’t be argued, Stockton Police claim the Measure A money will be used to pay for recruiting and retaining officers.
“I know that the majority of the funds of Measure A are to hire the police officers,” Officer Joe Silva, a spokesperson for the Stockton Police Department said.
Officer Silva added the money will be used to hire 40 officers per year, for the next 3 years.
“So that’s where our focus is when it comes to the Measure A funds,” he said.
And as we’ve reported, a private donor is making the cameras a reality.
According to Officer Silva, they should get their body cameras by Spring 2015. He added, they do have enough body cameras for a specialized unit — those 10 cameras are used for events like protests.