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Local News

Santa Barbara Police Expected to Purchase Patrol-Car Cameras

The City Council is expected to sign off on spending more than $230,000 to put devices in all 27 officer vehicles

The Santa Barbara Police Department is finally buying a camera system for its patrol vehicles, and the City Council is expected to sign off on the purchase next week.

Police have been testing out vendors in a pilot program, and police staff decided on Watch Guard’s In-Car Video, according to a city staff report.

The city would use Global Mounting Solutions as the installer, since that company also installed the department’s Mobile Data Computers in 2007.

It will cost $208,368 for equipment and $22,798 for installation, which was already budgeted through the Capital Outlay Fund for this year.

The department plans to equip all 27 patrol cars, Sgt. Riley Harwood said in June.

The Santa Barbara County Grand Jury discovered that the Santa Barbara and Guadalupe police departments are the only law-enforcement agencies in the county without video-recording equipment installed in their patrol vehicles.

The Santa Barbara council announced that the city would be installing the cameras as soon as funding was available, but won’t allow public view of the footage, despite the Grand Jury recommendation that it do so.

One of the department’s pilot program cameras was in Officer Aaron Tudor’s car Oct. 21, 2011, when he pulled over driver Tony Denunzio on suspicion of drunken driving.

Some witnesses say excessive force was used by Tudor, but Police Chief Cam Sanchez maintains that no rules were broken. The video captured a portion of the interaction between the two, although the struggle moves out of view for a large segment.

Denunzio’s DUI case was moved to Santa Maria, and has a tentative trial start date of Feb. 22, Deputy District Attorney Mai Trieu said.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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