Pasadena police hope to provide more transparency with body cameras

PASADENA, Calif. (KABC) -- The Pasadena Police Department aims to offer more transparency to the public through its new body camera program that started earlier in the week.

Use of force by officers often leads to questions about the events leading up to the incident and the details of what happened, so authorities hope the body cams can address those questions.

Lt. Vasken Gourdikian said all patrol officers have body cameras, as well as jail staff, members of the detectives bureau and civilian employees who have an interaction with the public.

Gourdikian said the evidence can help both parties by holding people accountable for their actions. He added it gives police a "higher degree of accountability" with the community.

Officers must follow policy when activating the cameras, which includes turning it on when they get calls for service, during investigations, when interacting with members of the public and when they are dispatched to a call.

Some organizations have expressed concerns about body cameras. The ACLU suggests departments require officers to record every investigative interaction with a member of the public, which is a policy Pasadena has implemented.

The department currently allows officers to review video before providing a statement on an officer-involved shooting, but the ACLU said that could change how an incident is remembered or reported.

As far as releasing videos, Gourdikian said it falls in line with the public records act and it's on a need-to-know, right-to-know basis based on legal requirements.

The department said it has measures in place for compliance and if an officer repeatedly ignores policy, it could lead to disciplinary measures.
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