Kamala Harris cautions against 'one-size-fits-all' approach on body cameras

Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris says body cameras a 'good tool,' but police departments should have discretion on use

As numerous proposals on body cameras for police officers make their way through the Legislature, state Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris on Wednesday cautioned against using a "one-size-fits-all" approach to regulate their use.

Harris, who earlier this year announced a pilot program for California Dept. of Justice agents to wear body cameras, said the technology was "important and a good tool to use in doing police work."

But she stopped short of endorsing statewide requirements for officers to wear them, which lawmakers have been debating this session. The most contested measure, by Assemblywoman Shirley Weber (D-San Diego), has been the subject of intense negotiation over how the cameras would be operated and when the footage could be viewed.

The bill, AB 66, was put aside last week when Weber opted to make it a two-year bill.

Harris, who is running for the U.S. Senate, said she believed law enforcement leaders, along with their departments, should "use the discretion to figure out what technology they’re going to adopt based on the needs that they have and the resources that they have. I don't think we can have a one-size-fits-all approach to this."

Her comments came after a speech Wednesday morning to the California Chamber of Commerce in which she spoke about her work to guard against data breaches and called for a smarter criminal justice policy that looks at the state's "return on investment" on incarceration versus programs to reduce repeat offenses.

Follow @melmason for more on California government and politics.

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