LONG BEACH (CNS) - After more than a year of testing a brand of body cameras that has suffered some high-profile glitches, the Long Beach Police Department says it's looking at other options.
The department is scrapping any plans to keep the current body cameras and will start searching for a new provider after deciding the devices now in use don*t pass technical muster, according to a statement released Tuesday afternoon and reported by the Long Beach Press-Telegram.
The department said it values body cameras, but ``the current technology does not suitably meet the needs of the department and the city.''
Police have been testing the cameras since November 2016 when they assigned about 40 of them to officers in West and Central Long Beach as part of a pilot program. Since then, the cameras twice had opportunities to record video of police shootings, but they failed both times, according to the newspaper.
In March, one of the cameras recorded audio, but the video was such low quality that it was essentially unusable, police sources told the Press- Telegram. And last year, officers involved in a shooting weren't wearing their cameras because they were having technical problems, according to the department.
Long Beach City Councilwoman Suzie Price has championed the use of body cameras and at times pushed the police department to move faster on deploying them, but on Tuesday she said she'd been in touch with Police Chief Robert Luna and thought it was a wise decision to look at other camera models, the Press-Telegram reported.
Police said Tuesday that they'd been contracting with the Dell computer company and Utility Associates, Inc., a Georgia-based business, to supply cameras and other needed technology for the pilot program.
In addition to providing cameras under a $210,000 contract authorized by the City Council in 2016, Utility Associates loaned the department a new model of camera to test in February, but that device also didn't meet the city's needs, according to the police department.