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Stockton Police Department Getting Body Cameras, Thanks To Anonymous Donor

STOCKTON (CBS13) — The Stockton Police Department will be joining departments across the country when it adds body cameras to their uniforms, but it won't be at the expense of taxpayers.

Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones says the department is finally getting the body cameras, thanks to an anonymous donor who came forward with a blank check.

Jones said talks about getting the new surveillance system started long before events in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City sparked a nationwide debate about using cameras. They also predate the officer-involved shootings in a July bank robbery that left one hostage dead from police gunfire.

"The anonymous donor actually reached out to myself and the police foundation and said he was very interested," Jones said.

The donation will be made through the Stockton Police Foundation. Jones says it may cost several hundred thousand dollars to equip the force. The cheapest camera is around $700.

"The donor wants to provide for all the initial cameras for this project and we're looking at 250," he said.

Stockton City Councilman Michael Tubbs praised the donation.

"I think the anonymous donor is a great example of what it's really going to take to reinvent Stockton or move Stockton forward," he said. "It shows government has a role to play, but there's more than enough room for the private citizen and enterprise to help us solve these challenges we're facing."

The officers will be testing out two different models. Officers will spend the next three to five months testing out different body camera models before the department makes a final purchase and final policy on their use.

Once the cameras are bought, the department will face a bigger issue. The donation does not cover the infrastructure needed to support the large amount of video storage from the cameras.

"It's not the purchasing that's the issue, it's the data storage and the maintenance that's becomes the bigger cost." said Katherine Nance with the police officers association.

Jones says there is not timeline for when the cameras will be a permanent part of the uniform.

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