Without much fanfare, the Metropolitan Transit System’s security officers joined the growing list of local law enforcement officers outfitted with body-worn cameras.
But while MTS has had the cameras in the field since fall 2014, they’ve not yet written formal policies for how officers are supposed to use the cameras, or for how and when the public gets to see the footage.
Now MTS is expanding the use of body cameras to its private security contractors – who make up the vast majority of MTS’s force – footage from those cameras won’t be available to the public without a court order, according to a new contract between MTS and the company, Universal Protection Services.
That means footage involving roughly 80 percent of MTS’s security force may remain hidden from the public. And there are no set rules governing the release of footage captured by the other 20 percent.
MTS relies on roughly 35 transit officers to write citations on trolleys and buses and keep the peace throughout the system. The agency started outfitting those officers with body-worn cameras in July 2014 – every officer has been wearing them since September 2014, around the same time the San Diego Police Department took the step.
We Stand Up For You. Will You Stand Up For Us?
If a transit cop doing something wrong is captured on camera but the recording is secret, what's to insure it was actually recorded? How self-serving can a PUBLIC agency possibly be??
This headline and the wording of the "agreement" is the inverse (perverse is better) equivalent of the British calling their private schools Public Schools. A public agency that executes an agreement that states: "Contractor’s video shall not be considered an MTS record or public document under the California Public Records Act” is one that seeks to conceal something. This should be easy to challenge on, at least , public policy grounds.
An occasion shall present itself before long.
@Kathy S --I think that contract is for bus systems outside of San Diego proper (but I could be wrong. Wouldn't be the first time).
@David Crossley @Kathy S @Kathy S I may be mistaken but your manner of writing persuades me that you are a lawyer. I have also assumed that you are a resident of San Diego. If the foregoing things are true, what is there to prevent you from challenging this new MTS contract or the provision for video concealment, on the grounds that it is void, at initiation, and unenforceable due to its (intentional) violation of Public Policy; the CPRA.