The Santa Barbara Police Department says it’s ready to move ahead with a grand jury recommendation for the installation of video cameras in all of its patrol cars, if it can find funding for the project.
The Santa Barbara County Grand Jury called for the department to add the cameras to provide important documentation of interactions with the public.
The Grand Jury says the video can help insure the public is treated properly, while providing support for police against claims that suspects have been treated improperly.
A test video camera played a key role in the investigation of the controversial arrest by Santa Barbara Police of a driver on a DUI charge, in which some people claimed excessive force was used.
Conflicting video, and eyewitness accounts led to a decision to not pursue resisting arrest charges against the man, or excessive force charges against officers.
City officials say it would cost $250,000 to $300,000 to install cameras in all of the patrol cars, and with money tight, finding funding is the key issue.
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department, Santa Maria Police, and Lompoc Police have had video equipped patrol cars for years.