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Foothill-De Anza Board of Trustees approves police body-worn cameras

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The Foothill-De Anza Board of Trustees unanimously agreed to purchase body cameras for campus law enforcement, hoping to improve relations between the community and district law enforcement on Nov. 6.

“All sworn and non-sworn uniformed officers will be issued body worn cameras,” said De Anza College Police Chief Ronald Levine. Furthermore, according to an excerpt from the Department’s General Orders, officers are to record a variety of situations and, in cases where officers did not record, they are required to give an explanation in their report. The order specifically states, “Recording such contacts shall be the rule and not the exception.”

Professor Robert Stockwell, who is coordinating the community policing task force at De Anza, sees this as a positive step and a “way to maximize the responsiveness and accountability to the community.”

When asked about the existence of the taskforce, Stockwell replied, “there are a number of students that want to see improved relations.”

Levine expanded on Stockwell’s comments noting, “There is a small group that feels that our relationship is not positive.” However, community pressure did not directly cause this decision. It “was strictly an internal decision,” said Levine. These cameras aim to “enhance our ‘transparency’ to our community, [and] enhance both criminal and administrative investigations in the future,” said Levine.

While it’s widely agreed upon that body worn cameras display a commitment to transparency and assist in dealing with both law enforcement and community issues, this is not the end all be all for relations between the community and law enforcement.

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