Pasadena police to get tiny high-tech body cameras

A $940,196 purchase by the city of Pasadena means all its police officers will get new body cameras that are each about the size of a large button, left. The new cameras will provide more information than the department’s older ones, right, which were only provided to about two-thirds of the force.

Photo: Courtesy Pasadena Police Department


Pasadena police officers will benefit from almost $1 million worth of new high-tech body cameras.

The BodyWorn camera system comes with a $940,196 cost covered through a 1/2-cent sales tax collected in the Pasadena Crime Control and Prevention District.

Those funds can only be used to fund police-related items.

The cameras will be issued to officers and also installed in rolling stock.

“This will outfit all of our uniformed (officers) with (new) body cameras in addition to car cameras,” Police Chief Josh Bruegger said. “Currently, all of our marked units have car cameras, but only about two-thirds of our uniformed officers have body cameras.”

The department had 280 officers in January.

The first thing officers will notice about the new cameras is their much smaller size. The old cameras were bulky contraptions the size of a walkie-talkie. The new versions are about as big as a large button and could almost be missed if someone weren’t looking for them.

The new system is capable of pinpointing the location of an officer or vehicle.

“BodyWorn is newer technology with more real-time features,” Bruegger said. “It provides us with (Global Positioning System) technology that our current camera system does not have.”

Recordings triggered by gunfire, other factors

The bodycams have several other features that will enhance officer safety.

“It also has policy-based recording and that can be based on call type or (being in) a certain geographic area,” Bruegger said. “(And) if you start running, it has an accelerometer and starts recording. (If) you go prone for too long, it alerts dispatch.”

If the new cameras detect gunfire, they start recording and alert dispatch, too.

“Supervisors will also have the ability to watch videos live as well,” Bruegger said.