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List: Which AZ police agencies use body cameras?

Bill would deny money to police departments without body cameras
Axon body camera
Posted at 6:30 PM, Sep 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-11 00:03:28-04

PHOENIX — Law enforcement agencies that refuse to use officer body-worn cameras could lose out on millions of dollars in federal grants, if a bill introduced by an Arizona congressman becomes law.

"The body cam program is so important to build community and police trust," Rep. Greg Stanton, D-Phoenix, said.

Stanton introduced the COPS Accountability Act of 2020 this summer. It would prevent local, state, and tribal police agencies from receiving future federal Community Oriented Policing Services grants unless they either have body cameras or can distribute cameras to 50% of officers within 3 years.

The ABC15 Investigators surveyed 77 Arizona law enforcement agencies, finding 56 require all their patrol officers to wear body cameras. Twenty-one agencies, including the Arizona Department of Public Safety, either have no cameras or have only partially rolled out the programs.

"We see in Arizona, even some of our largest departments, have not yet utilized body cameras in the year 2020," Stanton said. "When we have had access to this technology for many years, frankly that’s not acceptable."

Stanton was mayor of Phoenix in 2013 when the city's police department started a body camera pilot program. It took six years to fully deploy 2,000 cameras.

In 2020, the COPS hiring program grant awarded nine Arizona police agencies a total of $4.8 million Arizona police agencies a total of $4.8 million. The Pima County Sheriff's Office received $1.25 million to hire 10 deputies.

"We’re really caught up in this idea body cameras, and I think we need to think that all the way through before we put conditions on there that might have an unintended consequence," Pima County Sheriff Mark Napier said. Napier's deputies do not have body cameras, and would not qualify for similar grants in the future if Stanton's bill passes.

Napier said his agency is making other transparency and accountability reforms, but he does not plan on adding body cameras. "Sometimes they have utility, but they can be limited in what they do show," Napier said.

He said the body cameras come at a "substantial expense," and PCSO has other budget priorities.

"Even if axon or another company will give you the cameras for free, that’s only a small part of the cost of maintaining that program because you still have to deal with the digital evidence storage, the redaction, and the public disclosure of video," Napier said.

"No one suggests it’s going to be easy," Stanton said, explaining it's an issue of prioritization to meet the public's expectations for police officers.

El Mirage Police Chief Paul Marzocca admits storing, managing, and releasing the videos is costly, but he also said the number of citizen complaints has dropped in recent years. He also believes the video evidence could reduce the potential of future lawsuits.

"The importance is to have an independent review of what’s going on," Marzocca said.

In addition, El Mirage police supervisors spot check officer videos every month to review overall performance.

"It adds that confidence to you because, if you know you’re doing a good job, you can prove you’re doing a good job by the independent video,” Marzocca said.

Rep. Stanton's COPS Accountability Act of 2020 has been assigned to a committee but has not yet to be scheduled for a hearing.

Law enforcement agencies that refuse to use officer body-worn cameras could lose out on millions of dollars in federal grants, if a bill introduced by an Arizona congressman becomes law.

"The body cam program is so important to build community and police trust," Rep. Greg Stanton, D-Phoenix, said.

Stanton introduced the COPS Accountability Act of 2020 this summer. It would prevent local, state, and tribal police agencies from receiving future federal Community Oriented Policing Services grants unless they either have body cameras or can distribute cameras to 50% of officers within 3 years.

The ABC15 Investigators surveyed 77 Arizona law enforcement agencies, finding 56 require all their patrol officers to wear body cameras. Twenty-one agencies, including the Arizona Department of Public Safety, either have no cameras or have only partially rolled out the programs.

"We see in Arizona, even some of our largest departments, have not yet utilized body cameras in the year 2020," Stanton said. "When we have had access to this technology for many years, frankly that’s not acceptable."

Stanton was mayor of Phoenix in 2013 when the city's police department started a body camera pilot program. It took six years to fully deploy 2,000 cameras.

In 2020, the COPS hiring program grant awarded nine Arizona police agencies a total of $4.8 million Arizona police agencies a total of $4.8 million. The Pima County Sheriff's Office received $1.25 million to hire 10 deputies.

"We’re really caught up in this idea body cameras, and I think we need to think that all the way through before we put conditions on there that might have an unintended consequence," Pima County Sheriff Mark Napier said. Napier's deputies do not have body cameras, and would not qualify for similar grants in the future if Stanton's bill passes.

Napier said his agency is making other transparency and accountability reforms, but he does not plan on adding body cameras. "Sometimes they have utility, but they can be limited in what they do show," Napier said.

He said the body cameras come at a "substantial expense," and PCSO has other budget priorities.

"Even if axon or another company will give you the cameras for free, that’s only a small part of the cost of maintaining that program because you still have to deal with the digital evidence storage, the redaction, and the public disclosure of video," Napier said.

"No one suggests it’s going to be easy," Stanton said, explaining it's an issue of prioritization to meet the public's expectations for police officers.

El Mirage Police Chief Paul Marzocca admits storing, managing, and releasing the videos is costly, but he also said the number of citizen complaints has dropped in recent years. He also believes the video evidence could reduce the potential of future lawsuits.

"The importance is to have an independent review of what’s going on," Marzocca said.

In addition, El Mirage police supervisors spot check officer videos every month to review overall performance.

"It adds that confidence to you because, if you know you’re doing a good job, you can prove you’re doing a good job by the independent video,” Marzocca said.

Rep. Stanton's COPS Accountability Act of 2020 has been assigned to a committee but has not yet to be scheduled for a hearing.

Law enforcement agencies that refuse to use officer body-worn cameras could lose out on millions of dollars in federal grants, if a bill introduced by an Arizona congressman becomes law.

"The body cam program is so important to build community and police trust," Rep. Greg Stanton, D-Phoenix, said.

Stanton introduced the COPS Accountability Act of 2020 this summer. It would prevent local, state, and tribal police agencies from receiving future federal Community Oriented Policing Services grants unless they either have body cameras or can distribute cameras to 50% of officers within 3 years.

The ABC15 Investigators surveyed 77 Arizona law enforcement agencies, finding 56 require all their patrol officers to wear body cameras. Twenty-one agencies, including the Arizona Department of Public Safety, either have no cameras or have only partially rolled out the programs.

"We see in Arizona, even some of our largest departments, have not yet utilized body cameras in the year 2020," Stanton said. "When we have had access to this technology for many years, frankly that’s not acceptable."

Stanton was mayor of Phoenix in 2013 when the city's police department started a body camera pilot program. It took six years to fully deploy 2,000 cameras.

In 2020, the COPS hiring program grant awarded nine Arizona police agencies a total of $4.8 million Arizona police agencies a total of $4.8 million. The Pima County Sheriff's Office received $1.25 million to hire 10 deputies.

"We’re really caught up in this idea body cameras, and I think we need to think that all the way through before we put conditions on there that might have an unintended consequence," Pima County Sheriff Mark Napier said. Napier's deputies do not have body cameras, and would not qualify for similar grants in the future if Stanton's bill passes.

Napier said his agency is making other transparency and accountability reforms, but he does not plan on adding body cameras. "Sometimes they have utility, but they can be limited in what they do show," Napier said.

He said the body cameras come at a "substantial expense," and PCSO has other budget priorities.

"Even if axon or another company will give you the cameras for free, that’s only a small part of the cost of maintaining that program because you still have to deal with the digital evidence storage, the redaction, and the public disclosure of video," Napier said.

"No one suggests it’s going to be easy," Stanton said, explaining it's an issue of prioritization to meet the public's expectations for police officers.

El Mirage Police Chief Paul Marzocca admits storing, managing, and releasing the videos is costly, but he also said the number of citizen complaints has dropped in recent years. He also believes the video evidence could reduce the potential of future lawsuits.

"The importance is to have an independent review of what’s going on," Marzocca said.

In addition, El Mirage police supervisors spot check officer videos every month to review overall performance.

"It adds that confidence to you because, if you know you’re doing a good job, you can prove you’re doing a good job by the independent video,” Marzocca said.

Rep. Stanton's COPS Accountability Act of 2020 has been assigned to a committee but has not yet to be scheduled for a hearing.