Santa Clara County

Santa Clara County Sheriff's Deputies Start Using Body Cameras

The Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office are now training deputies on how to use newly-issued body cameras.

The cameras help show what happened during a traffic stop, an arrest, or even an officer-involved shooting. It is also a device law enforcement critics have been demanding from all departments.

Officials said eventually about 1,200 deputies will be equipped with uniform cameras.

Sheriff's Deputy Tyrone Monroe went out to patrol transit areas on Tuesday with K-9 partner Niner using his new body camera.

"When we are out in the field searching, whether it be for a suspect or a bomb, sometimes there is a lot of commotion and things going on," Monroe said. "And maybe (Niner) misses something or maybe I am missing something he does, and we can go back and learn from that."

The Taser International magnet-based camera mounts on the chest.

Deputy Joe Alvarado is also training with the new camera an said "it's just getting used to turning it on and off on a regular basis."

The pressure to record interactions is intense, especially after three deputies were arrested for allegedly beating Santa Clara County Main Jail inmate Michael Tyree in 2015.

While the Sheriff's Office acknowledge body cameras help prevent abuse by officers, it also said cameras can stop false allegations against officers.

"I know a lot of times people think maybe the cops are treating them unfairly or unfortunately, but we get that treatment as well, so I think it's good for both sides," said Fabian DeSantiago, the Sheriff Office's camera program coordinator.

Sheriff's Office officials said it expects to have all deputies equipped with body cameras by the end of the year. Community meetings are also scheduled to discuss the new cameras. The full program will be evaluated in six months.

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