Red Tape Delays Body Cameras for Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office - NBC Bay Area
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Red Tape Delays Body Cameras for Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office

The sheriff's office started its process to get body-worn cameras before the San Jose Police Department, but the cops are way out in front in actually using them.

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    The Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office plan to fast track body-worn cameras has derailed, and now deputies likely will not get the equipment for at least eight months or even longer. Robert Handa reports. (Published Wednesday, July 20, 2016)

    The Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office plan to fast track body-worn cameras has derailed, and now deputies likely will not get the equipment for at least eight months or even longer.

    The sheriff's office started its process to get body-worn cameras before the San Jose Police Department, but the cops are way out in front in actually using them.

    In fact, NBC Bay Area has learned after months of field testing and picking the body cameras it wanted -- the same cameras San Jose selected -- the sheriff's office is tangled up in county red tape that officials acknowledge will block getting cameras for at least eight months, and possibly up to 16 months.

    County Board President Dave Cortese acknowledged the obstacles and frustration.

    "Frankly there needs to be a way to speed things up when it comes life-saving measures," Cortese said. "I mean, all of those things are in play and that's why we're looking at body-worn cameras."

    NBC Bay Area has learned obstacles include new procurement safety procedures put in place after alleged expense account abuse by former superviros George Shirakawa. And a privacy ordinance that requires all surveillance equipment be approved by the Board of Supervisors before any program can move forward.

    "There are rules, but there are also ways to expedite the rules and that's what I think we need to focus on more," Cortese said.

    NBC Bay Area has also learned the issue was not scheduled for the board to address. But Cortese said he will now make sure it is on the agenda at the board's next meeting.

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