in Bernal Heights Park, which inspired Supervisor John Avalos to stump for the devices. At an April Board of Supervisors hearing
, he argued that they'd clarify some of the foggy details surrounding Nieto's death.
Avalos' pitch got more traction after another, higher-profile shooting in Ferguson, Missouri in August, which was also the subject of conflicting witness accounts. By that time the push for body cameras had gone national, and many police departments — including several in the Bay Area
— had already implemented them.
Oddly, innovation-friendly San Francisco has been slower to adopt the technology than other cities. It's received a $250,000 Department of Justice grant for a pilot program that would arm a few dozen plain-clothed officers with cameras some time in the future. During an October hearing before the Neighborhood Safety and Services Committee, representatives from SFPD said the City Attorney's office is still reviewing the program, and that the department is still jumping through bureaucratic hoops to procure the cameras.
Even then, the devices might be prohibitively expensive. Storage of video footage could cost up to $60 per month per cop, according to Avalos' legislative aide Jeremy Pollock. Asked at a recent press conference whether SFPD ever plans to deploy the cameras on a large scale, Chief Greg Suhr said he'd certainly consider it, "if millions of dollars could be released to do that."
And now that Eric Garner's widely-watched choke hold death has failed to produce an indictment, even Pollock says he's beginning to doubt the cameras' efficacy.
Body-mounted police cameras got a spate of publicity after the March shooting of