Fontana police get advanced body cameras

FONTANA, Calif. (KABC) -- The Fontana Police Department joined 21st century policing with advanced body-worn cameras.

The law enforcement agency is the latest department to roll them out in an effort to enhance public safety and understanding.

"The technology will strengthen officer accountability and public trust," Mayor Acquanetta Warren said.

The smart phones are equipped with software developed by Visual Labs that turn cellphones into video and audio recorders. But unlike other body-worn cameras, these can capture in real time.

"Body-worn cameras have proven to be very successful. Body-worn camera recordings can provide an objective record of one perspective of a particular event," Capt. Angela Stover said.

Those cases include suspected police brutality. In 2015, a bystander's cellphone video captured an arrest of a suspect in a stolen vehicle. Fontana police said the suspect attempted to hit officers with a two-by-four and resisted arrest. At the time, there was no video from the officer's perspective.

A simulation of the body-worn camera shows what the device can document of an incident, which benefits not just the officers but citizens, too.

When Rialto police launched body cameras in 2013, its department saw a 60 percent drop in use of force and an 88 percent drop in complaints against officers.

"I forsee this vindicating a lot of officers with some of these complaints that we get," said Richard Guerrero, with the Fontana Police Officers Association.

The Fontana department purchased 200 devices through a Department of Justice body-worn camera policy grant. The department hopes to have the cameras deployed in the field by Sept. 1.
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