The transit agency's police force has finally made a move towards more officer accountability in the wake of the high-profile, fatal shootings of Charles Hill and Oscar Grant by BART Police officers. According to CBS5 and the Chronicle's Phil Matier, BART PD has launched a pilot program to give officers clip-on, ride-along cameras to permanently record future incidents.
Officers wearing the cameras won't be able to delete or tamper with the videos they shoot - that all has to be done back in the station once the video is downloaded to a computer. The only caveat is that the officer actually has to flip the camera on to begin recording. Seems simple enough, but it could be tricky if an officer suddenly finds himself in the sort of hostile situation that needs to be recorded. "The idea is to make the camera as much as a tool for police as a Taser or radio," CBS explains.
The transit police force had mentioned the possibility of rolling out lapel cams in recent months, but has been slow to make any changes even after weeks of protests. Assemblyman Tom Ammiano recently spoke out about the lack of action on the part of BART's Board of Directors and especially Mark Smith, the independent auditor hired three months ago to review BART PD operations, who has yet to hire any staff.
Here's Matier walking us through the cameras in action at a couple routine BART PD fare evasion stops: