The Sacramento Police Department has received a directive mandating that police officers announce when they opt to turn off body cameras. They must also give an explanation as to why the body cams are being turned off.
The decision was reportedly in the works since last year, but was expedited following the shooting of Stephon Clark after it was discovered that police officers muted their body cam microphones immediately following the shooting. The controversial shooting sparked protests and calls to action within the Sacramento community.
According to the new mandate, police officers cannot turn their body cams off or mute them unless under certain circumstances. Acceptable reasons for turning body cams off include when officers are speaking with a victim of sexual assault, supervisor instruction, speaking to doctors or paramedics, and closely related situations.
The guidance given to police officers prior to the shooting was that microphones could be muted when having personal conversations or speaking with an informant.