San Diego County Jails Will Use Body Cameras Following Damning State Audit
As part of a new pilot program, San Diego County Sheriff’s deputies at a county jail will wear body cameras following a state audit that found that the deputies did not adequately prevent or respond to inmate deaths.
In a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom and the California Legislature, acting California State Auditor Michael Tilden said, “From 2006 to 2020, 185 people died in San Diego County’s jails—one of the highest totals among counties in the State.”
The first phase of the body camera program assigned 72 cameras to deputies, specialized units, and supervisors at the Las Colinas Detention and Reentry Facility in Santee. Officials for the sheriff’s department said they will phase body cameras into other jails. Acting Sheriff Kelly Martinez said in a statement, “This is ultimately about the safety of the people in our custody and those who work in our facilities.”
The state audit found multiple instances in the 30 in-custody deaths they reviewed where the deputies did not perform the safety checks adequately. Based on security camera footage, the audit found that jail staff sometimes only spent one second glancing into inmates’ cells. When staff checked more closely, they discovered that some of the inmates had been dead for several hours.
Van Swearingen, a law partner at the law firm Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld, filed a lawsuit on behalf of eight plaintiffs to improve conditions at San Diego jails. The plaintiffs make complaints about the county jails’ response to medical and mental health needs, somet
Article from Reason.com