By Alene Tchekmedyian, firstname.lastname@example.org
July 31, 2015
Elected officials last week nixed a proposal — at least for the time being — to purchase 160 body-worn cameras for police officers, citing high costs and concerns about the still-developing technology.
Just one council member, Will Rogers, supported the proposal to commit $570,543 to bring the technology to Burbank, though his motion failed to get a second.
City and police officials cited potential downsides to putting off the purchase, including having to play “catch-up” down the line for a program that’s gaining traction nationwide after a series of deadly police encounters.
“I’m concerned that we don’t even have in-car cameras,” said City Manager Mark Scott. “I’m concerned that the Burbank Police Department is so far below what standard is for this kind of technology that I think it could come up and bite us someday.”
Police agencies nationwide are under intense public scrutiny after several fatal encounters involving black men have sparked nationwide protests and calls for reform. But according to a recent audit of the Burbank agency, there have been no “critical incidents,” defined as officer-involved shootings or in-custody deaths, for the last five years, which auditors called “remarkable.”