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San Francisco's New Police Recruits Will Get Body-Worn Cameras

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- San Francisco's newest crop of police recruits will be the first officers to be issued body-worn cameras, and they're getting advice straight from the top.

The mayor, and the new police chief, are urging the class to help change the culture of the embattled department.

On Thursday, San Francisco's Mayor Ed Lee and Acting Police Chief Tony Chaplain addressed the largest recruitment class in twenty years. The 200 recruits are entering the force at a pivotal moment in the department's history.

The two leaders did not waste time talking about the issues currently facing the department.

Chaplin said, "A lot of time you turn on the TV and read the newspapers, a lot of bad things going on and I am going to tell you what a retired lieutenant told me when we were going through another controversy two decades ago. He said, 'just do your job'."

These new recruits will be starting their career with a new police chief and new expectations, given the recent scandals shrouding the department. The department has been criticized for high profile shootings and bias within the force.

Mayor Lee said, "When you are called in to confront people in their challenging moments, that you are now being trained to make sure we place life at the core value."

These new recruits are also the first class to use new body-worn cameras

Chaplin said, "Don't let anybody fool you into thinking that this is something that is going to hurt you, these things are going to help you."

Starting in August, everyone from lieutenant to patrol officer will be issued a camera.

And officers will be required to record during arrests, search warrants and traffic and pedestrian stops.

But, they'll have turn the cameras off when dealing with sexual assault or child abuse cases.

Chaplin said, "We want to make sure that when you do it right that there's evidence and proof that you've done it right and more importantly that we're transparent. That the community knows you did it right."

The department says more than 2,000 will be distributed to officers after they have been trained, starting with the Bayview and Ingleside stations. The goal is to have everyone have them by the end of the year.

The battery life on the cameras is about 12 hours and we're told that's more than enough time for a standard 10-hour shift.

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