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After Ferguson, some police embrace use of body cameras

Police departments start using body cams 01:37

When Hayward, California, police sergeant Jose Najera heads off on patrol, he straps on his handcuffs, guns, radio -- and now a body cam.

In light of the fatal police confrontations in Ferguson, Missouri, and Staten Island, New York, there have been increasing calls for police departments to start using body cameras.

"We have a head piece, sunglasses. Put it on our shoulder," Najera told Kara Tsuboi of as he demonstrated different ways to wear the device. "You tend to forget about it because it's so lightweight."

The Hayward Police Department recently purchased 150 of Taser's Axon body cameras in order to have a video record of police interactions with the public. Officers decide when to turn them on and off.

The recordings are uploaded to the department's cloud storage. The footage cannot be edited or deleted but officers do have the right to review their own videos.

"After 90 days, then the footage will fall off," Hayward Sgt. Mark Ormsby said. "If it's marked as evidence though, we're going to keep that indefinitely."

But as the cameras become more commonplace, so do privacy concerns.

"There needs to be strict policies around who can access it, how long it's retained, where it's used," said Chris Conley, policy attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, Northern California.

"People want what benefits them on the record," he said. "Yet they also want the privacy to go about their lives and not be monitored all the time."

Those concerns are likely to grow as body cameras go beyond police departments to become a popular wearable item for consumers. Like Google Glass or GoPro cameras, widespread adoption could mean even less privacy for people in public.

"We've had school bus drivers, we've had teachers, we've had dentists. It's amazing the amount of people that have things happen in their lives that they want to record so they can protect themselves later, " said Steve Ward, CEO and Founder of Vievu, which makes a body camera used in more than 4,000 police departments nationwide and is marketing a consumer model for other professionals.

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