FAQ Police Body Cameras

Body Worn CamerasIn the beginning of February 2018, we announced our implementation of an exciting new initiative designed to increase transparency, accountability, credibility and evidence collection. All San Mateo Police Officers are now equipped with Axon Body Worn Cameras, which will be capturing our contacts and responses to crime and critical incidents. You may notice our officers wearing their cameras mounted either on their chest or the helmets of our officers on motorcycles. These devices will record as deemed necessary and in accordance with department policy.

After a yearlong planning and research process, including several months of beta testing devices from three different vendors, SMPD received approval from City Council to contract with Axon. This well-established vendor is providing cameras as well as digital evidence collection systems that are based on strict criteria and ease of use. Following a months-long agency-specific pilot of the program, we are now at full implementation. 

Body worn cameras give our officers the ability to document their daily professional conduct, gather evidence for investigations, and promote our department-wide philosophy of transparency. We are already finding the program extremely helpful and our officers have embraced use of this tool as a critical opportunity to accurately capture incidents. We expect greatly improved digital evidence captured with these devices that will also assist with successful investigations and prosecution of crimes.

“This is an exciting moment for our department and our City as we move forward with our 21st Century Policing Initiatives. There is a reason why over half of police departments nationwide are moving toward this body worn camera technology. It benefits our community, benefits our department and officers, as well as benefits our ability to capture digital evidence and further prosecution. It’s a win-win and my thanks to our staff, supporting departments and City Council for putting this important tool in our officers’ hands,” said San Mateo Police Chief Susan Manheimer.