SAN DIEGO — As many as 40% of San Diego Police Departments officers didn't use their bodycams to record enforcement encounters as required, according to a new report from the City Auditor's office.
The report reviewed encounters from October 2020 through September 2021 and it states that 15% to 40% of officers failed to press record on their bodycams.
A local civil rights attorney wasn't surprised by the numbers
"Sadly, those statistics track what we've been seeing in our cases for several years, going back to when those body worn cameras were rolled out," said Brody McBride, a local civil rights attorney.
Some officers pressed record after an incident had already started or stopped recording before it was over.
It's an issue McBride has seen multiple times.
"Several of my cases I have right now...One for instance, an officer-involved shooting case, the camera was never turned on until the shooting occurred and the individual was on the ground bleeding and handcuffed," McBride said.
SDPD officers are supposed to record enforcement encounters, which include traffic stops, traffic collisions, and arrests.
"I don't know what the downside is to just recording all the time," McBride said.
Los Angeles, San Jose, and Phoenix do require officers to record all calls.
The San Diego's Police Officer's Association released the following statement about the report:
"The SDPOA was not part of the audit, nor consulted thus far by the City Auditor on the implications. It is concerning the Auditor would come to such drastic conclusions without consulting with the rank and file members working on the streets. There are currently robust checks and balances from supervision and management. Officers are held accountable when they do not conform to the policy. We look forward to reviewing this issue further, confirming the accuracy of the data, and the meet and confer process regarding any proposed changes,"
The report had several recommendations including a stricter policy for when bodycam video must be released.
The report will be presented at city council next week and the SDPD is expected to give comments during that time.
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