Davis Police Vehicles’ Digital Recording System Inoperative

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During a recent traffic stop caught on video by the passenger, Officer Jeff Beasley tells the driver that he is recording their encounter. We can see this clearly on the recording. However, when the family inquires about the police recording they are informed that it does not exist. The family suspects that malfeasance on the part of the officer is the explanation for the failure for the department to provide video of the incident.

As it turns out it is a serious problem, but of another source. It is not malfeasance at all; rather it is a series of technical and administrative problems that have led to a very expensive recording system that does not work. An unnamed source now confirms this fact that the police in-car recording system does not work.

This is apparently a source of great concern to the Davis Police Officer’s Association. One of the reasons that this system was installed was as a means to be able to review all traffic encounters and any encounter within range of the video camera. This could potentially assist officers accused of wrongdoing if they are innocent of the allegations. It can also help to verify complaints against officers when they do violate the law or department policy.

This is a system that was authorized back in June of 2005, which would put a digital audio and video recording system from Mobile-Vision, Inc in all marked patrol vehicles according to a City Council report written by then Police Chief Hyde from the June 8, 2005 City Council Meeting. The authorization included a “one-time system purchase, installation and training not-to-exceed fee” of $149,500. This figure included first year maintenance, training and support. There was also an expectation of a yearly outlay of approximately $5,000 to cover maintenance expenses.

In the fall of 2005 all police vehicles became equipped with this digital recording system according to a July 12, 2006 Davis Enterprise article by Lauren Keene. The camera is mounted on the vehicle’s windshield. The cameras automatically begin to record once an officer activates the emergency lights.

One of the great advantages of this system is that it is supposed to be resistant to manipulation. The video is automatically downloaded once an officer pulls into the parking lot of the police station. This makes it an extremely valuable resource in resolving complaint and procedure issues. However, this is apparently where the technical problem exists, according to the source.

The City is apparently aware of this problem; however they have not come forth with the information to the public.

—Doug Paul Davis reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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36 thoughts on “Davis Police Vehicles’ Digital Recording System Inoperative”

  1. Anonymous

    Is this explanation supposed to make the DPD look better?

    Usually when an organization/company buys something that fails to function they tell the vendor to fix it or they pull it out and ship it back for a refund.

    If the officer knew the system was inoperative then why did he intentionally lie about it?

    The explanation makes no mention of the other electronic device that was installed – the personal audio recorder that officers carry on themselves. Where is that recording?SAH

  2. Anonymous

    Is this explanation supposed to make the DPD look better?

    Usually when an organization/company buys something that fails to function they tell the vendor to fix it or they pull it out and ship it back for a refund.

    If the officer knew the system was inoperative then why did he intentionally lie about it?

    The explanation makes no mention of the other electronic device that was installed – the personal audio recorder that officers carry on themselves. Where is that recording?SAH

  3. Anonymous

    Is this explanation supposed to make the DPD look better?

    Usually when an organization/company buys something that fails to function they tell the vendor to fix it or they pull it out and ship it back for a refund.

    If the officer knew the system was inoperative then why did he intentionally lie about it?

    The explanation makes no mention of the other electronic device that was installed – the personal audio recorder that officers carry on themselves. Where is that recording?SAH

  4. Anonymous

    Is this explanation supposed to make the DPD look better?

    Usually when an organization/company buys something that fails to function they tell the vendor to fix it or they pull it out and ship it back for a refund.

    If the officer knew the system was inoperative then why did he intentionally lie about it?

    The explanation makes no mention of the other electronic device that was installed – the personal audio recorder that officers carry on themselves. Where is that recording?SAH

  5. Doug Paul Davis

    The explanation was not given by a person who had any stake in how the DPD looks, this is simply a “fact.” I do not know if Beasley was or was not aware of the problems with the system.

    The point of this story is obviously that the City has expended a tremendous amount of resources on this system that is not operational and they need to fix it.

    The video recording in this case would have been helpful because it would have showed where the vehicle was at the point when the officer made a u-turn and pulled it over. The audio recorder would have been less helpful since we have inside the car audio of the incident.

  6. Doug Paul Davis

    The explanation was not given by a person who had any stake in how the DPD looks, this is simply a “fact.” I do not know if Beasley was or was not aware of the problems with the system.

    The point of this story is obviously that the City has expended a tremendous amount of resources on this system that is not operational and they need to fix it.

    The video recording in this case would have been helpful because it would have showed where the vehicle was at the point when the officer made a u-turn and pulled it over. The audio recorder would have been less helpful since we have inside the car audio of the incident.

  7. Doug Paul Davis

    The explanation was not given by a person who had any stake in how the DPD looks, this is simply a “fact.” I do not know if Beasley was or was not aware of the problems with the system.

    The point of this story is obviously that the City has expended a tremendous amount of resources on this system that is not operational and they need to fix it.

    The video recording in this case would have been helpful because it would have showed where the vehicle was at the point when the officer made a u-turn and pulled it over. The audio recorder would have been less helpful since we have inside the car audio of the incident.

  8. Doug Paul Davis

    The explanation was not given by a person who had any stake in how the DPD looks, this is simply a “fact.” I do not know if Beasley was or was not aware of the problems with the system.

    The point of this story is obviously that the City has expended a tremendous amount of resources on this system that is not operational and they need to fix it.

    The video recording in this case would have been helpful because it would have showed where the vehicle was at the point when the officer made a u-turn and pulled it over. The audio recorder would have been less helpful since we have inside the car audio of the incident.

  9. Anonymous

    Granted the system may work part of the time, which would make the officer’s comment appear more reasonable.

    Lots of police departments have usable video systems. I know that because there are TV police video shows. The prior Chief was brought in with substantial hype about the technology he would bring to Davis. I find it difficult to believe he could not find a reliable system.

    The personal audio recording would be important – we could hear what the two officers were talking about when they were standing behind the trunk of the police car. The audio would have been better in that setting anyway because the video usually is pointed forward and they were standing behind the camera.SAH

  10. Anonymous

    Granted the system may work part of the time, which would make the officer’s comment appear more reasonable.

    Lots of police departments have usable video systems. I know that because there are TV police video shows. The prior Chief was brought in with substantial hype about the technology he would bring to Davis. I find it difficult to believe he could not find a reliable system.

    The personal audio recording would be important – we could hear what the two officers were talking about when they were standing behind the trunk of the police car. The audio would have been better in that setting anyway because the video usually is pointed forward and they were standing behind the camera.SAH

  11. Anonymous

    Granted the system may work part of the time, which would make the officer’s comment appear more reasonable.

    Lots of police departments have usable video systems. I know that because there are TV police video shows. The prior Chief was brought in with substantial hype about the technology he would bring to Davis. I find it difficult to believe he could not find a reliable system.

    The personal audio recording would be important – we could hear what the two officers were talking about when they were standing behind the trunk of the police car. The audio would have been better in that setting anyway because the video usually is pointed forward and they were standing behind the camera.SAH

  12. Anonymous

    Granted the system may work part of the time, which would make the officer’s comment appear more reasonable.

    Lots of police departments have usable video systems. I know that because there are TV police video shows. The prior Chief was brought in with substantial hype about the technology he would bring to Davis. I find it difficult to believe he could not find a reliable system.

    The personal audio recording would be important – we could hear what the two officers were talking about when they were standing behind the trunk of the police car. The audio would have been better in that setting anyway because the video usually is pointed forward and they were standing behind the camera.SAH

  13. Doug Paul Davis

    “Granted the system may work part of the time, which would make the officer’s comment appear more reasonable.”

    I’m not sure if it is a consistent problem for a periodic problem. I know it has to do with the ability to download the recording and transfer it, that’s the extent of the technical nature that I know so I didn’t want to get into that.

    “The prior Chief was brought in with substantial hype about the technology he would bring to Davis. I find it difficult to believe he could not find a reliable system.”

    He did indeed. I’m not surprised there are problems.

    “The personal audio recording would be important – we could hear what the two officers were talking about when they were standing behind the trunk of the police car. The audio would have been better in that setting anyway because the video usually is pointed forward and they were standing behind the camera.”

    Good point. Unless the audio recording system has changed, the officer’s used to have the ability to turn it on and off. However if it is linked into the same delivery system, that probably does not work either.

  14. Doug Paul Davis

    “Granted the system may work part of the time, which would make the officer’s comment appear more reasonable.”

    I’m not sure if it is a consistent problem for a periodic problem. I know it has to do with the ability to download the recording and transfer it, that’s the extent of the technical nature that I know so I didn’t want to get into that.

    “The prior Chief was brought in with substantial hype about the technology he would bring to Davis. I find it difficult to believe he could not find a reliable system.”

    He did indeed. I’m not surprised there are problems.

    “The personal audio recording would be important – we could hear what the two officers were talking about when they were standing behind the trunk of the police car. The audio would have been better in that setting anyway because the video usually is pointed forward and they were standing behind the camera.”

    Good point. Unless the audio recording system has changed, the officer’s used to have the ability to turn it on and off. However if it is linked into the same delivery system, that probably does not work either.

  15. Doug Paul Davis

    “Granted the system may work part of the time, which would make the officer’s comment appear more reasonable.”

    I’m not sure if it is a consistent problem for a periodic problem. I know it has to do with the ability to download the recording and transfer it, that’s the extent of the technical nature that I know so I didn’t want to get into that.

    “The prior Chief was brought in with substantial hype about the technology he would bring to Davis. I find it difficult to believe he could not find a reliable system.”

    He did indeed. I’m not surprised there are problems.

    “The personal audio recording would be important – we could hear what the two officers were talking about when they were standing behind the trunk of the police car. The audio would have been better in that setting anyway because the video usually is pointed forward and they were standing behind the camera.”

    Good point. Unless the audio recording system has changed, the officer’s used to have the ability to turn it on and off. However if it is linked into the same delivery system, that probably does not work either.

  16. Doug Paul Davis

    “Granted the system may work part of the time, which would make the officer’s comment appear more reasonable.”

    I’m not sure if it is a consistent problem for a periodic problem. I know it has to do with the ability to download the recording and transfer it, that’s the extent of the technical nature that I know so I didn’t want to get into that.

    “The prior Chief was brought in with substantial hype about the technology he would bring to Davis. I find it difficult to believe he could not find a reliable system.”

    He did indeed. I’m not surprised there are problems.

    “The personal audio recording would be important – we could hear what the two officers were talking about when they were standing behind the trunk of the police car. The audio would have been better in that setting anyway because the video usually is pointed forward and they were standing behind the camera.”

    Good point. Unless the audio recording system has changed, the officer’s used to have the ability to turn it on and off. However if it is linked into the same delivery system, that probably does not work either.

  17. Anonymous

    The audio seemed to work OK in the Buzayan case and they were recording a long distance from the car. I assume they are different systems so it is very unlikely both systems were down at the same time.SAH

  18. Anonymous

    The audio seemed to work OK in the Buzayan case and they were recording a long distance from the car. I assume they are different systems so it is very unlikely both systems were down at the same time.SAH

  19. Anonymous

    The audio seemed to work OK in the Buzayan case and they were recording a long distance from the car. I assume they are different systems so it is very unlikely both systems were down at the same time.SAH

  20. Anonymous

    The audio seemed to work OK in the Buzayan case and they were recording a long distance from the car. I assume they are different systems so it is very unlikely both systems were down at the same time.SAH

  21. Doug Paul Davis

    That was also a different system before the new digital one was installed. I still think the mic is on the officer. The question is whether it is part of the system download. I just don’t know the answer, I’m not familiar enough with the system itself.

  22. Doug Paul Davis

    That was also a different system before the new digital one was installed. I still think the mic is on the officer. The question is whether it is part of the system download. I just don’t know the answer, I’m not familiar enough with the system itself.

  23. Doug Paul Davis

    That was also a different system before the new digital one was installed. I still think the mic is on the officer. The question is whether it is part of the system download. I just don’t know the answer, I’m not familiar enough with the system itself.

  24. Doug Paul Davis

    That was also a different system before the new digital one was installed. I still think the mic is on the officer. The question is whether it is part of the system download. I just don’t know the answer, I’m not familiar enough with the system itself.

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