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Exclusive: Inside look at Palm Springs Police Department’s new body-worn cameras

For the first time, the Palm Springs Police Department is rolling out new body-worn and in-vehicle cameras.

News Channel 3 got an exclusive first look at the cameras, which will be worn by every PSPD officer. Police said their goal is to improve transparency, and provide proof of their encounters.

"It's going to tell the story exactly as we describe it," said Lt. William Hutchinson. "Having video to back up what we already write in reports or what we already claim is critical."

Officers will have the capability to turn on and off the cameras, but they're required to be recording during every interaction.

Palm Springs Police Department is the last agency in the valley to deploy body camera technology.

The city and policy union negotiated the cameras' policy more than a year ago, police said. But after incidents like the in-custody police killing of George Floyd in May, the city fast-tracked the purchase of the more than $800,000 system.

<div class="fb-post" data-href="https://www.facebook.com/PalmSpringsPD/posts/3425449364170808" data-show-text="true" data-width=""><blockquote cite="https://www.facebook.com/PalmSpringsPD/posts/3425449364170808" class="fb-xfbml-parse-ignore"><p>Palm Springs PD has chosen the body worn camera company Watchguard Security Services Limited for our body worn camera...</p>Posted by <a href="https://www.facebook.com/PalmSpringsPD/">Palm Springs Police Department, CA</a> on&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/PalmSpringsPD/posts/3425449364170808">Tuesday, November 10, 2020</a></blockquote></div>

Cameras are being installed in the entire police car fleet as well. When officers flip a switch inside their vehicle to activate flashing lights, the camera will be activated as well.

Due to privacy issues, some footage will be redacted. But video must be released of any in-custody death, significant use of force, or officer-involved shooting.

A Palm Springs police shooting at the Agua Caliente casino last month ad no body camera footage available.

"Us being able to tell our side of the story will help with this transparency," Hutchinson said. "When the public questions an incident that may be questionable we're going to be able to provide that video evidence to show the incident."

The cameras are expected to be installed and fully operational by the first of next year.

You can reach Jake on TwitterFacebook or email him at jake.ingrassia@kesq.com.

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Jake Ingrassia

Joining News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 as a reporter, Jake is excited to be launching his broadcasting career here in the desert. Learn more about Jake here.

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