San Jose city leaders: 'Time is now' for officers to wear body cameras

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KTVU) - San Jose police officers could be one step closer to wearing body cameras. On Tuesday, the city council is expected to move forward with a pilot program for a dozen officers to be armed with the devices in September.

From South Carolina to Sunnyvale, around the country, more and more everyday citizens are hitting the record button their cell phones when an officer fires a gun. San Jose city officials want to waste no more time arming officers with cameras as well.

"If we could move faster I think we should," said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo. "I think there have been increasing issues nationwide about accountability."

The cameras proved effective in Oklahoma where just-released footage from a body camera shows how a reserve deputy pulled out a gun instead of a Taser.

Liccardo said the hold-up includes securing funding and developing a policy on how the cameras will be used and how long the data will be stored. The police union also wants a policy that won't infringe on the officers' rights.

"Generally the policy is that it's legal and safe, it doesn't violate anybody's rights," said President Paul Kelly of the Police Officers Association.

This comes as a new independent police audit calls for more transparency within the police department. Auditor Judge LaDoris Cordell said last year, the department received 340 complaints. She believes those complaints would drop as well as police use of force.

"These cameras will reduce litigation, will weed out bogus complaints and I think it will make everyone behave better," said Judge Cordell.

If all goes well with the pilot program in September, body worn cameras for the entire department could happen by fall of next year.