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CHP lagging behind nation, state in use of body cameras

A policeman models a body camera
Body Worn
Flickr / Creative Commons
A policeman models a body camera

While body and dashboard cameras are not mandatory in the California, large and small agencies have begun seeing the cameras as tools of transparency -- and a way to keep officers and the public safe.

But according to CalMatters, the California Highway Police, or CHP – one of the state's largest police forces – only has body cameras for three percent of its budgeted 76-hundred uniformed officers.

The CHP makes around two-million stops a year, encounters that mostly happen within range of dashboard cameras. The agency says that it only has 237 body cameras – all in the Oakland and Stockton areas. A spokesperson said the department is focused on upgrading its dashboard cameras.

The CHP experimented with a limited pilot program several years ago. Since then, several states have mandated police body cameras.

CalMatters also reports that more than a dozen of the largest local law enforcement agencies across the state mandate body cameras, including police departments in Oakland, San Jose, Sacramento and Los Angeles.