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    FILE - In this Nov. 5, 2014 file photo, Sgt. Chris Wicklund of the Burnsville, Minn., Police Department wears a body camera beneath his microphone

    Use of Force Incidents Up in San Diego, a Year After SDPD Issued Body Cams

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    After outfitting San Diego police with body cameras one year ago, the department was surprised to find that while they have received less complaints- use of force has actually gone up.

    Complaints against officers fell 23% between July 2014 and June 2015, but instances of force increased ten percent in the same time period, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

    At the six month mark, an in house study found that both complaints and use of force had fallen, unfortunately their findings didn’t stick.

    According to the findings, there were 6,421 instances of force from July 2014 until June 2015 while cameras were in use, and 5,820 the year before they were issued.

    On a good note, while there was a 17% increase in “lesser controlling force,” which is non weaponized force such as an officer using his body weight to control a suspect, “greater” controlling or defending force such as tasers and chokeholds dropped 8%.

    “This first year of data all seems to suggest that (body cameras) aren’t the end-all solution to all social issues,” San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman told the SD Union-Tribune. “We are going to need to enhance other current strategies that are effective, such as our psychiatric emergency response teams … our homeless outreach team … and our crisis-response team officers.”

    The department does not currently release body camera footage in use-of-force instances, and has stated that they do not plan to.  This policy was also implemented in Los Angeles and has received criticism from civil rights groups as well as the ACLU who once supported the use of body cameras.  They argue that without the public being allowed to see the footage, there is no transparency.

    The ACLU has however, praised the department’s efforts in tracking and analyzing the year’s data.  They also agree that the drop in greater force is a good sign of progress.

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    Body Cameras, ACLU, San Diego Police, SDPD, San Diego
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