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City Council OKs money for police video cameras: Installation in 27 patrol units expected by February

City Council OKs money for police video cameras: Installation in 27 patrol units expected by February

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Published by Peter Lance
Santa Barbara News-Press page-one story December 5, 2012. The City Council's action was a direct result of Peter Lance's two investigative series on alleged corruption by SBPD officers in DUI cases. Link to series: http://peterlance.com/wordpress/?p=1627
Santa Barbara News-Press page-one story December 5, 2012. The City Council's action was a direct result of Peter Lance's two investigative series on alleged corruption by SBPD officers in DUI cases. Link to series: http://peterlance.com/wordpress/?p=1627

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Published by: Peter Lance on Dec 06, 2012
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07/03/2013

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Santa Barbara Responds to Peter Lance’s DUI Series.
 
http://peterlance.com/wordpress
 
 
 
City Council OKs money for police video cameras: Installation in 27patrol units expected by February.
 
Santa Barbara News-Press December 5, 2012
 
The Santa Barbara Police Department will soon have video cameras in 27 patrol carsand four interview rooms. The City Council on Tuesday approved spending about$208,000 on WatchGuard Video cameras and about $23,000 on camera installation byGlobal Mounting Solutions Inc.The council had already budgeted the expenses for fiscal year 2012-13, said DennisDiaz, police information technology manager. Capt. David Whitham, patrol divisioncommander, said some officers may be concerned about “Big Brother” looking over their shoulders.The Santa Barbara Police Department will soon have video cameras in27 patrol cars and four interview rooms.The City Council on Tuesday approvedspending about $208,000 on WatchGuard Video cameras and about $23,000 on camerainstallation by Global Mounting Solutions Inc.“However, in most cases (video) exonerates police from wrongdoing instead of catchingthem.” The high-definition video and audio fileswill be stored on servers at the police station in asecure room. Only limited personnel will be ableto access the room, Capt. Whitham told the News-Press. “Without the integrity, its meaningless,” hesaid. “Once it’s downloaded into the system, itcan’t be changed. Once it’s on (the police server),it’s very secure.”The video is public record, said City AttorneySteve Wiley.Prompted by the DUI arrest of investigative journalist Peter Lance, the Santa Barbara CountyGrand Jury released a report in October 2011calling for all county law enforcement agencies to install video cameras in their patrolvehicles. Lance’s case was dismissed on November 15
th
, 2011 and the DMV returned hislicense in March of 2011.
 
 Last year the News-Press published a 13 part series byLance alleging that Santa Barbara police officer KasiBeutel had arrested him and a series of other driversfor DUI crimes they did not commit.The series included allegations that Beutel hadmanipulated breathalyzers to increase Blood AlcoholContent (BAC) levels, filed a sworn DMV report thatshe knew to be false, witnessed a series of forged blood test waivers and went into the field with DUIforms in which she had pre-checked up to half the boxes – evidence of a pre-determined mindset to frame innocent drivers.
SERIES LINK 
Lance also reported in that series that The Santa Barbara andGuadalupe police departments are the only agencies in the county without patrol cameras.He followed up with a five-part series in October that included evidence Officer Beutelhad planted a bindle of heroin on a female DUI suspect who was being booked in SantaBarbara County Jail.
SERIES LINK 
 
The City, to date, has taken no actionagainst Officer Beutel. One of the first testvideo cameras captured the controversialOct. 21, 2011, DUI arrest of TonyDeNunzio in Loreto Plaza who wasTasered 13 times by SBPD Officer AaronTudor. Witnesses accused Tudor of usingexcessive force and the video providedevidence in the case. But Santa BarbaraDistrict Attorney Joyce Dudley refused to bring charges against Tudor, who is headof the City’s Drinking Driver Team.
 
At the Feb. 28 City Council meeting, Police Chief Cam Sanchez told the council the Police Departmentwould select a camera vendor by April 2012. Thedepartment selected WatchGuard in October andshould have the cameras installed by the end of February, Mr. Diaz said.WatchGuard’s systemfeatures forward- and rear-facing cameras, wirelessvideo uploading, high-definition video and audiorecording, and easy operation, he said.“Some events will not happen in perfect range of thecamera,” but in those cases the HD microphone can record sounds as far as 1,400 feetaway, Mr. Diaz said.

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