Anaheim City Council members Tuesday night are scheduled to approve a $1.1 million contract with Arizona-based TASER International, Inc. for the purchase of body-worn cameras for police officers, a step city officials hope will help rebuild a fragile trust between the police department and residents.
Two years ago, back-to-back lethal police shootings of two young Latino men sparked outrage and a downtown riot of mostly Latino youth. Since then, the city has hired its first Latino police chief, Raul Quezada, and has taken other steps to improve accountability and relations with the community. Officers have been using personal audio recorders for more than a year, according to a staff report.
At least one study conducted at the Rialto Police Department found that use-of-force incidents dropped dramatically after the cameras were in place, according to the Orange County Register.
The study found a “60 percent reduction in use-of-force incidents by officers using the cameras and an 88 percent decrease in public complaints,” the newspaper reported.
The city has also moved forward with a police civilian review board, a proposal by Mayor Tom Tait that was well received by residents, though some complained it was toothless. The city’s police union and former mayor turned lobbyist Curt Pringle opposed the civilian review board. Pringle recorded a robocall attacking Tait for proposing the board.
The Anaheim City Council public meeting begins at 5 p.m. To view the agenda, click here.