Sunday, May 27 , 2018, 7:26 am | Fair 52º


Local News

Santa Barbara Council Approves Purchase of Patrol-Car Video Cameras

Recording systems will be installed in 27 police vehicles early next year, to the tune of $230,000

In-car video-camera systems will be installed into the Santa Barbara Police Department’s 27 patrol cars early next year under a contract with WatchGuard.

It will cost $208,368 for equipment — high-definition front- and rear-facing cameras and wireless microphones with a 1,400-foot range — and $22,798 for installation. The contract also includes four interview-room cameras to replace existing ones, so all Police Department cameras use the same system.

The Santa Barbara City Council unanimously approved the purchase Tuesday, and the camera systems will be installed sometime around mid-February.

The recording systems in each patrol car will wirelessly upload their footage at police headquarters on Figueroa Street, although the department might look for hot spots to upload elsewhere as well, said Lt. Dennis Diaz, police information technology manager.

Cameras can be programmed to record continuously and only in high definition when officers push a button — when they pull someone over, perhaps — to save storage space for the digital footage, Diaz said.

High-quality sound and long-range microphones were important to the department as well.

“We well know that some events will not happen in perfect view of the camera, so at least we’ll capture the event with audio,” Diaz said.

The system doesn’t include streaming video back to the Police Department, but the equipment has the capabilities to do so.

The department chose a system that was easy to use, requires minimal training, and has a rugged design so it survives the constant use.

In fact, the in-car DVR records in two storage locations so in the event the car is involved in a wreck, there’s a removable thumb drive so the video files can be manually uploaded. Cameras will be powered through the cars’ secondary batteries in the trunks.

The Santa Barbara County Grand Jury discovered that SBPD and the Guadalupe Police Department are the only law-enforcement agencies in the county without video-recording equipment installed in their patrol vehicles, and recommended that they both do so.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton 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.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Supporter

Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >