Current Nevada law authorizes, rather than requires, certain peace officers to wear a portable recording device. Senate Bill 176 would REQUIRE the use of portable recording devices, aka body cameras, for certain peace officers.
Already, the Nevada Highway Patrol is equipping its officers with body cameras, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. In January, The Board of Examiners, including Gov. Brian Sandoval, approved a contract between the state Department of Public Safety and TASER International for $1.25 million, allowing the state to purchase and operate the cameras. Individually, the cameras cost $1,414 each.
The board was told the cameras should be fully operational on all troopers by the summer. About 600 cameras will be provided as part of the contract, along with data storage….
The cameras are required as a result of the passage of Senate Bill 111 during the 2015 legislative session sought by state Sens. Aaron Ford and Kelvin Atkinson, both Democrats from Southern Nevada.
Ford sought a body camera bill after numerous officer-involved shootings nationally drew widespread attention in 2015. He said in his initial testimony that the bill was not a criticism of Nevada law enforcement officials, but instead a way to provide important evidence in cases of police shootings.
Evidence shows the relationship between a police force and its community improves when officers wear body cameras. There is a demonstrable correlation between officers wearing body cameras and a decline in community complaints, according to the San Diego Tribune:
Since [San Diego Police] officers began wearing the cameras nearly three years ago, the department has seen significant decreases in misconduct allegations and high-level uses of force by officers.
A nine-page internal report also says the cameras have shrunk the number of allegations left unresolved due to lack of evidence, helped more officers get exonerated and increased the percentage of allegations deemed false.
The report, released this week, compares misconduct allegations and instances where force was used in 2013, before officers began wearing cameras, to 2016, when nearly all officers had begun wearing them.
While body cameras have their limitations – they can be damaged or inadvertently turned off, and have a narrow view frame – requiring police officers in Nevada to wear body cameras when on duty and interacting with the public is a big step in the right direction.
SB176 – Introduced Monday, February 13, 2017: Existing law: (1) authorizes certain peace officers to wear a portable event recording device while on duty; and (2) requires certain law enforcement agencies to adopt policies and procedures governing the use of portable event recording devices. (NRS 289.830) Existing law also requires: (1) certain peace officers employed by the Nevada Highway Patrol to wear a portable event recording device while on duty; and (2) the Nevada Highway Patrol to adopt policies and procedures governing the use of portable event recording devices. (NRS 480.365) Section 1 of this bill requires rather than authorizes certain peace officers to wear a portable event recording device while on duty. Section 1 also requires certain law enforcement agencies to adopt policies and procedures governing the use of portable event recording devices. Section 5 of this bill repeals NRS 480.365, the provision pertaining to the use of portable event recording devices by peace officers employed by the Nevada Highway Patrol, as that section is no longer necessary because the Nevada Highway Patrol is included within the definition of “law enforcement agency” for the purposes of section 1. Existing law: (1) authorizes the board of county commissioners of all counties whose population is less than 700,000 (currently all counties other than Clark County) to impose a surcharge to be used for the enhancement of the telephone system for reporting an emergency in the county; and (2) sets forth the requirements relating to the imposition of such a surcharge. (NRS 244A.7641-244A.7647) Sections 2-4 of this bill: (1) provide that the surcharge may be imposed in all counties in this State; (2) increase the maximum amount of the surcharge that may be imposed; and (3) authorize the surcharge to also be used for the purpose of purchasing and maintaining portable event recording devices and vehicular event recording devices.
Senator Aaron Ford, Senator Kelvin Atkinson, Senator Pat Spearman, Assemblyman Jason Frierson, Assemblywoman Dina Neal, Assemblyman Tyrone Thompson