Sparks Police is proud to announce it met the Nevada Revised Statute deadline and will implement the Body Worn Camera program on June 11, 2018. In July of 2017, Governor Sandoval signed into law Nevada SB176 requiring certain uniformed sworn peace officers to wear portable recording devices, commonly referred to as Body Worn Cameras (BWC), by July 1, 2018. Sparks Police personnel began navigating the many complex issues of funding, data storage, policies, procedures and training once SB176 was signed into law.
Sparks Police has previously maintained a robust In-Car Camera System since August of 2014. The Sparks Police is utilizing this opportunity to use the Evidence.com feature of Axon, Inc. to combine all digital evidence into a single system. This will include all BWC footage, Detective interview room footage, photos and video collected by officers on scene. In the fall of 2018, the Sparks Police will add the newest release of Axon In-Car cameras to our overall camera and digital evidence program.
The current In-Car Camera System has shown to be an effective law enforcement tool that reinforces the public’s perception of police professionalism and transparency and preserves factual representations of officer-citizen interactions. The implementation of BWC’s has the potential to increase our community relations, strengthen public trust in law enforcement, lower the number of citizen complaints, defend officers against false accusations, increase agency accountability, and improve officer training and evaluation.
The Sparks Police welcomes and embraces the addition of BWC to our camera program, nonetheless there are limitations. As we have seen with our current system, any camera and subsequent footage is only part of any given situation. The footage may depict things that an officer or bystander did not see or hear and subsequently, the officer or bystander may hear or see things that are not recorded by the BWC. We anticipate the BWC will enhance the understanding when reconstructing and evaluating the totality of circumstances in each future incident.
Relationships between anyone, including police and the community they serve, relies on trust and open, respectful communication. Sparks Police will continue community outreach and community collaboration efforts to continually foster trust and garner support from our community.