Jessica Cejnar / Monday, Sept. 13 @ 3:32 p.m.
CCPD Gets New Body Cam System, Patrol Truck With Measure S Dollars
Crescent City police officers are wearing new body cameras that are activated when an officer draws their gun and enables the chief to check up on them via GPS.
The new body camera system and the Crescent City Police Department’s latest addition to its fleet, a Ford STX truck, were paid for with Measure S dollars, CCPD Chief Richard Griffin told Councilors last week. The truck will receive a paint job and lights marking it as a police vehicle and will be used as part of the department’s patrols, he said.
“The reason we wanted to get one, maybe two trucks, a lot of what we do is picking up shopping carts,” Griffin said. “We picked up probably four of them this week and bicycles from people. It fits a lot better in the back of a truck.”
Approved by voters in November 2020, Measure S increased sales tax within city limits by 1 percent. Those dollars will be used toward road repairs, the Fred Endert Municipal Pool, a staffing plan within the Crescent City Police Department and a 10-year masterplan for Crescent City Fire & Rescue.
Measure S is expected to generate $1.3 million in annual revenue.
Urging Councilors to stop by the police station for a closer demonstration, Griffin pulled up a satellite image of Crescent City with camera icons showing his location at the station and Officer
Jonathan Cooper’s location near Elk Valley Road and U.S. 101.
Griffin said not only could he click on Cooper’s icon to check his status, he could also see an alert showing that he had drawn his weapon that day.
“A signal side-arm is what it’s called,” he said. “It basically puts the device on the holsters. When the firearm is drawn out of the holster, it will activate not only the officer’s camera that is holding a firearm, but up to 50 feet around them. If I have several officers there, it will activate their body cameras.”
Griffin said that helps in case an officer forgets to turn on his body camera. It also ensures the camera is not accidentally switched off since it’s already turned on by the weapon being out of its holster, he said.
“We’ve tried that out, there’s probably about a second delay, but it does work and it works amazing in my opinion,” he said.
Griffin said he also receives alerts on his cell phone when his officer activates and deploys a Taser. He said he’s also alerted when an officer draws his firearm.
“If they do have a major incident, I can be watching from the command vehicle or from the incident post if we, say, have an issue at the Flynn Center,” he said. “I’ve got a bird’s-eye view maybe I can see something that helps officer safety out, or we got an officer down, we can get them medical attention.”
The body camera system also allows for live-streaming, Griffin said. It also calculates GPS coordinates every three seconds when it’s recording and every 15 seconds when it’s buffering. Griffin said that evidence could be used in court, during Internal Affairs investigations and by the District Attorney’s office.
“This is technology I don’t think anybody else in the county has,” he said. “I’m very pleased to have it. I think it’s going to increase safety and definitely transparency to the community.”