FILE- In this Jan. 15, 2014, file photo a Los Angeles Police officer wears an on-body camera during a demonstration in Los Angeles. The critical moment when a gunman opened fire on two San Diego police officers, killing one, wasn’t captured on the camera one of the officers was wearing because he didn’t turn it on until after bullets flew. It’s the latest example of the hole created by policies like San Diego’s that allow officers to determine when to start recording.
(Damian Dovarganes / AP)
The critical moment when a gunman opened fire on two San Diego police officers, killing one, may never be seen. The surviving officer only activated his camera after the wounded shooter was running away.
San Diego is among departments with policies calling for officers to turn on cameras before initiating contact with a citizen in most cases. But like other departments, compliance is less than perfect.
The result is inconsistent use of an increasingly common tool meant to give investigators and an often-skeptical public a fuller picture of police actions.
“The main motive of body cameras is to provide openness and transparency, and build trust in the police,” said Samuel Walker, a retired criminal justice professor at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.