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Palm Springs police deploy body-worn and vehicle cameras

The Palm Springs Police Dept. said it has deployed about a third of its new body-worn cameras.

News Channel 3 got an exclusive inside look at the technology in November. Police said their goal is to improve transparency, and provide proof of their encounters.

The department said the new cameras are currently being worn by about 30 officers as training continues, but eventually all officers will wear one.

"It's always good for the public to see what we do on a day to day basis," said Sgt. Mike Casavan.

Officers will have the capability to turn on and off the cameras, but they're required to be recording during every interaction. Police said their goal is to provide proof of their encounters.

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

Palm Springs Police Department is the last agency in the valley to deploy body camera technology. Palm Springs City Council fast-tracked the purchase of the more than $800,000 system last year after police killed George Floyd in May.

The cameras are being installed in police vehicles as well.

"It goes hand-in-hand with the body worn camera so that there’s multiple views," Casavan said. "Could be more than one angle for the footage to see what's going on."

And while the department had initially planned for the technology to be fully implemented by the start of this year, due to a staggered training schedule, they've pushed back the expected completion to the end of January.

"Our first camera hit the streets Dec. 29, and to get all of our officers and staff through training is taking some time," Casavan said.

With just about everything caught on camera these days, police said a video can make all the difference in discerning exactly what took place.

"Sometimes it's not really brought into real light until it's seen through video," Casavan said. "Although video doesn’t share everything, it does certainly help​."

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

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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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