Two Months In, CSUN Body Cameras Seem Successful

CSUN Body Cameras

Cal State Northridge’s Police Services decided to start wearing body cameras in order to improve their relationship with the broader community.

They began wearing them on August 28, and two months later things seem to be working out well for all involved.

CSUN Chief of Police Anne Glavin called the decision a "no brainer," though the actual implementation process took a while as they tried to find the best company to supply the devices.

“This is not new technology," she said. "It’s been around the country; it’s just that it’s our turn."

She adds that there has been no real resistance from members of her staff, a fact which she finds encouraging.

Clarissa Rojas, the chief of staff for Associated Students at CSUN, spoke in favor of the decision in an official statement.

“The body worn cameras will improve police practices and increase credibility among the community. As a student leader, I commend DPS for taking the lead in this matter, especially as a university operated police department.”

While this move is largely successful for public relations, in material costs it has been a bit pricey. There are 28 cameras being worn by the police officers, and the initial cost for them all is about $45,000. At the end of five years the cost is expected to be about $185,000, which includes things like the data the cameras use and the price of replacing cameras, according to CSUN Police Department Capt. Scott G. VanScoy.

The brand that they use is called the Taser Axon Body 2, which is worn in the center of the chest. VanScoy describes it as simple to operate, activated with a simple button to press. It beeps every two minutes, a periodic reminder for both the wearer and whomever they come in contact with that the recording is currently working.

VanScoy adds that the camera's information is designed to become corrupted if someone attempts to alter it, a security measure to make sure that the footage remains accurate; also, the data is in a cloud based system, not the camera itself. And since the Los Angeles Police Department uses the same brand, the data can be transferred over to them with little chance of a problem.

Cameras will be on during calls for service but not for private conversations, and one can request they be off for sensitive investigations like sexual assault.