ACLU Statement on San Diego Sheriff Body-Worn Camera Pilot Program

The following statement can be attributed to Kellen Russoniello, staff attorney, ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties:

Public support for body cameras is based on the idea they will bring transparency and accountability. But the San Diego Sheriff’s Department’s proposed policy does neither.

The policy proposal does not specify circumstances under which the department will allow the public to see body camera footage, and so provides no assurance of transparency. It would allow officers who are under investigation to review footage before making a statement, departing from investigative best practices and undermining the integrity of those investigations. And it provides no safeguards against use of facial recognition or data-mining technologies that would turn body cameras into tools for general surveillance.

Even the stated purposes of the program make no mention of transparency, accountability or building community trust.

The ACLU supports use of body cameras under a policy that promotes transparency and accountability. The San Diego Sheriff’s Department interim policy does not meet that standard.