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