Bakersfield Police Department says both its gang and impact units are currently on the job with a new accessory – body cameras. A long-awaited and highly-anticipated addition to the department.
Tuesday night, cops, clergy and members of our community met to discuss the positive change they believe is coming thanks to the new technology.
It’s been in talks for months: The possibility of body cameras at the Bakersfield Police Department. As of July 1st, they’re here.
Thomas Hernandez, of the Bakersfield Police Department, said of the new body camera footage, “It’s not going to be changed, it’s not going to be edited, so there’s going to develop that trust that what we say happened is what happened. And they’ll be able to justify it through the body cams.”
BPD says 33 personnel from its gang and impact units are currently equipped with cameras from the companies “Lenslock” and “Axon.”
Regular attendees of the Safe Streets Partnership meeting in downtown Bakersfield are very excited for the future through the lens of these new cameras.
“Right now, in the African-American community as far as the police is concerned, there is no trust, and it’s based upon not being able to see what happened and based upon only being able to hear what happened,” said Josephate Jordan, pastor of Christ First Ministries.
Until now, the only members of local law enforcement wearing body cameras were 47 deputies at the Kern County Sheriff’s Office. And even they are working toward more officers wearing cameras.
Sheriff Donny Youngblood confirmed Tuesday that his department received a grant from the Department of Justice. Within 90 days, he says, 60 to 70 more deputies will be fully equipped with cameras.
The Safe Streets Partnership meetings between BPD and community partners are held the first Tuesday of every month at the Larry Reider education center. The public is invited and encouraged to attend the next meeting on Tuesday, August 7th.