When Alameda County sheriff’s deputies reportedly beat a car-theft suspect after a high-speed chase from Castro Valley last fall, the onslaught of blows was not the only troubling revelation. None of the 11 deputies at the scene turned on their body cameras.

If it weren’t for a private overhead security camera, there would have been no video record of deputies pummeling a cowering Stanislov Petrov. The episode highlighted how the accelerating adoption of body-worn cameras by Bay Area police still leaves a central question only partially answered: How — and how often — should they be used?

This news organization surveyed dozens of local police departments about their body camera policies. Of the 48 agencies who responded or had available records, 31 have deployed or approved body cameras, and an additional eight are planning to. Twenty-nine of the 31 have established policies calling for the body cams to be running as much as possible.

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