FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 30, 2015
CONTACT: Bill Bird @ 916-651-4029
Community Support Grows for Huff Body Camera Bill
Consensus Building to Improve Public Safety
SACRAMENTO: The California Police Chiefs Association (CPCA) is throwing crucial support to legislative efforts by Senate Minority Leader Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar) to improve relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve. Huff’s proposed legislation, SB 175, would require each law enforcement department or agency that chooses to require officers to wear body-worn cameras (BWC’s), to develop a policy relating to the use of the cameras.
“I have learned throughout my political career that building a consensus that all parties can agree upon is the best way to accomplish positive change in society,” said Senator Huff. “I’m very grateful for CPCA’s support for SB 175 and look forward to working with other representatives and agencies while attempting to address each and every concern.”
Senator Huff moved to introduce the legislation after hearing feedback from constituents in the 29th Senate District and meeting with community groups and newspaper editorial boards throughout California. Senator Huff believes the issue is important to all Californians, especially members of minority communities who also seek to improve relationships with law enforcement.
“This is an issue that came up during a recent shop talk that I hosted at an African-American owned barbershop in Sacramento,” said Senator Huff. “It’s also an issue that is important to the editorial board at Our Weekly, the largest newspaper serving black communities in Southern California.”
Senator Huff’s legislation builds upon recent positive experiences involving cameras worn by law enforcement officers while they are on duty. According to the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) 2014, law enforcement agencies that require officers to use BWC’s report that the technology definitely improves community relationships by improving the performance of officers as well as the conduct of the community members who are recorded.
BWC technology helps solve crimes, is useful in recording important witness testimony and lowers the number of citizen complaints. When officers or the public break the law, the body-worn cameras create a public record.
“I think it’s important, however, that law enforcement be given a strong voice into how these BWC requirements are drafted and implemented,” warned Senator Huff. “That’s exactly what my legislation seeks to accomplish. If a department chooses to have officers wear cameras, then they should also develop a policy as to how the cameras will be used.”
CPCA’s letter of support for SB 175 states the following: “We concur that agencies that elect to utilize body worn cameras should have an inclusive and vetted policy in place prior to the implementation of the agency’s body worn camera program.”
Senator Huff serves as the Senate Republican Leader and represents the 29th Senate District covering portions of Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino Counties. Follow Senator Huff on Twitter at @bobhuff99.