Several months ago, the City Council in Del Mar, California voted to suspend the use of a body camera by the city’s sole park ranger, Adam Chase, which he had been using as part of his service duties. This week the Council voted to reverse that earlier ruling and allow Chase to wear the body camera again.
He had been using it since 2012 but the Council elected to revoke its use earlier this fall after the city of Del Mar had to release video from the camera of Chase pulling over a sheriff’s deputy. After the video was released, both Del Mar Mayor Al Corti and Councilman Terry Sinnott put in a request to the City Council for a report about the use of the body camera from the city attorney and the city manager.
According to city officials, Del Mar did not have any formal protocol in place for the use of the body camera when Chase began using it two years ago. After a request through the city’s public records act was submitted for footage of Chase and the Sheriff’s Deputy, it was decided that a review of the guidelines for the use of the camera was in order.
Officials with the United States Department of Justice assisted city staff in conducting a review of the guidelines and drafting the new policy for the park ranger’s use of the body camera. The new protocol is expected to be fully implemented and in place before the end of December and Chase will be able to use the camera once it is.
City Manager Scott Hugh described the camera as a “very important tool for law enforcement as well as a tool for the public to see what we’re doing in our performance.”