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Body Worn Camera Project


Research and Evaluation

The Sacramento Police Department (SPD) is committed to utilizing the latest technology to assist in criminal prosecutions, civil litigation, and bolstering public trust.  SPD has utilized in-car cameras in the field since the late 1990s.  The department is taking another step in expanding  recording capabilities by implementing use of Body Worn Cameras.

The SPD began its market research of Body Worn Cameras (BWC) in early 2015.  The department participated in several product demonstrations and tested a variety of cameras, however, BWC technology was rapidly improving during this period.  New vendors entered the marketplace and many companies debuted second-generation BWC products.  These developments prompted SPD to extend its field testing and evaluation process timeline.  Through this process, key attributes considered essential to the successful implementation and operation of a BWC solution were identified.  A thorough analysis included examining the following features of products currently available on the market:

  •     Full-shift battery life
  •     Field of view
  •     Uniform mounting options
  •     Automatic pre-record ability
  •     Tamper resistance
  •     Cloud storage 
  •     Data security
  •     Video and audio quality
  •     Hardware maintenance and replacement
  •     Ongoing technical support from the manufacturer
  •     Vehicle integration
  •     Camera usability
  •     Evidence management system

Multiple vendors and their products were selected for testing by officers.  The officers participating in the field tests were representative of a cross section of assignments, including:  Gang Enforcement, Bikes, Motors, Patrol, K9, and ShotSpotter.  This wide range of testing was completed to measure the compatibility of these products under different conditions and with a variety of uniform types and equipment.  


In the summer of 2015, SPD applied for and was awarded $599,756 by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), Bureau of Justice Assistance, under the Body Worn Camera Pilot Implementation Program (BWC PIP).  The grant had a performance period of October 1, 2015 through September 30, 2017 and required an in-kind match equal to 50 percent of the total project cost up to the total grant award.  The intent of the award was to help develop, implement, and evaluate a BWC program as one tool in a comprehensive problem-solving approach to enhance officer interactions with the public and to build community trust. 

On October 27, 2015, the Sacramento City Council accepted the BWC PIP grant award and directed staff to evaluate options to fulfill the grant match requirements.  The total cost to develop, implement, and evaluate the BWC program over the two-year grant period was $1.5 million.  The $599,756 grant award provided partial funding for program implementation.  Matching funds of $936,358 were necessary over the two-year grant period to successfully implement the BWC program.  The City Council approved the use of Measure U funds to fulfill the required grant match in the FY2016/17 Approved Budget.  The funding for the cameras, although approved in 2015, did not become available until the 2016/17 fiscal year.  The council report accepting the grant funds is available here: City Council Report 2015-00941. (PDF 556 KB) 

On March 7, 2017, the Sacramento City Council passed a resolution suspending competitive bidding in the best interests of the City for the purchase of a body worn cameras and digital media storage solution and authorizing the City Manager or City Manager’s designee to enter into a contract with TASER International, Inc.  The council report is available here: City Council Report 2017-00275. (PDF 2.13 MB)



The Department has committed to the deployment of Body Worn Cameras as another tool to enhance public safety and ensure officers maintain the high standards of professionalism expected by the department.  Additional steps taken by SPD have included:

  • The development of infrastructure to manage video storage and hardware to support the day-to-day use of the equipment;
  • The adoption of a training plan to ensure officers understand how to use the equipment;
  • The department-wide incorporation of  Body Worn Camera training.
  • The integration of Body Worn Camera training and use within the Police Academy

Currently, all officers are issued Body Worn Cameras and are generally required to wear them when conducting enforcement or investigative activity, regardless of their assignment.

The Body Worn Camera (PDF 116 KBpolicy was updated on January 16, 2019 and implemented best practices from departments across the state as well as lessons learned from field use. The Department remains committed to maintaining and updating this policy to ensure transparency and accountability to build trust with the community.


An initial 2018 audit of Body Worn Camera (BWC) footage was conducted from a random sampling of videos recorded in October of 2018. This review required managers to watch videos that were generated by 74 officers, from 15 separate calls for service.

46 of the 74 audit reports did not identify violations of the BWC policy, and additionally no significant violations were observed with regards to other Department policies. 28 of the 74 audit reports indicated minor violations and concerns, including the following:

  • Activation of BWC but no written documentation
  • Failure to voice the reason for deactivation of the BWC
  • No supplements written when needed
  • Number of unnecessary BWC activations
  • No ICC activations
  • No BWC activations
  • (Officers) Not attaching themselves to the call

The full results of this audit are available below:

October 2018 Body-Worn Camera Audit Results (PDF, 448KB)

When SPD revised its BWC policy in January of 2019, language was included requiring supervisors to complete a BWC compliance review bi-annually during the completion of each employee’s mid-year and end-of-year performance evaluations. Please refer to SPD’s Body-Worn Camera policy (General Order 525.07, section M, PDF 116 KB) for additional information regarding the structure of these recurring audits.

BWC Audit Results are available below:

2019 Body-Worn Camera Audit (PDF, 90 KB)

2020 Body-Worn Camera Audit (Excel, 64 KB)