Irvine will spend $ 3.3 million over the next five years on a body-worn camera system and new vehicle on-board cameras that will likely debut on city streets by July.

Chief Mike Hamel said in 2020 that existing plans to equip officers with body cameras had been accelerated by widespread protests following the death of George Floyd on Memorial Day in the custody of Minneapolis Police. Irvine cops have had “dash cams” in cars since the 1990s.

On Tuesday March 9, Irvine City Council approved the purchase of the car and body camera system, including more than 300 cameras and cloud video storage, from Axon. City staff said police would be trained on the new system and policies in April and May, and cameras could be deployed in the field by July.

Several residents called for the meeting to urge the council not to spend the money on more law enforcement tools and instead use it to meet the needs of the community.

With the police department’s budget already at $ 98 million, “$ 3.3 million could be spent on other issues to improve the lives of our community,” UC student Dinorah Hernandez told council. Irvine. “If we are really concerned about crime, we should invest in programs” such as drug treatment and food aid.

After listening to residents’ objections, Mayor Farrah Khan said body cameras for officers was one of the requests she heard from community members during roundtables she held after a local protest by Black Lives Matter.

Chief Hamel and Jade Mazzio, director of commercial services for the police department, said council body cameras would automatically start recording when an officer pulls out a tasers, but not when a gun is fired, because they didn’t trust the technology attached to the holster. For this purpose.

Agents will need to turn on their cameras for all official interactions with the public (but not when, say, someone is just asking for directions). Muting the camera sound would require holding down a button.

Video from cameras will be stored for two years, or longer if deemed important for investigation or useful for some other reason.

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