The San Francisco field office of the U.S. Park Police this week became the first in the federal department to test out body-worn cameras with the hope the devices will help solidify trust between officers and the community.
The U.S. Park Police patrols miles of land in the Bay Area from Ocean Beach to the Marin Headlands, and its 41 officers will soon begin sporting bodycams to help with transparency.
The officers interact with the public and tourists from around the world every day, but unlike many other law enforcement agencies, they've been doing it without bodycams.
"We acknowledge the trends as it relates to law enforcement and as it relates to the public," Chief Pamela Smith said. "We have been and still are challenged with funding for the program. I thought it was important to have public trust and support our visitors that come to the park on a daily basis to know that we had the appropriate tools."
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Smith announced the creation of the body-worn camera program earlier this year, and the San Francisco field office was the first to receive training. By the end of the year, all officers in the department will be outfitted with the devices.
Smith says she decided to begin training in the Bay Area first because it’s the smallest office in the department.