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L.A. Outfitting 7,000 Officers With On-Body Cameras

The Los Angeles Times reported that the city of L.A. plans to outfit 700 to 800 police officers with on-body cameras. Mayor Eric Garcetti made the announcement during a news conference on Wednesday, stating that they're "a great step forward" while acknowledging that the cameras aren't the ideal answer to becoming more transparent.

"The trust between a community and its police department can be eroded in a single moment," Garcetti told the LA Times. "Trust is built on transparency."

News of the cameras arrives after conflicting reports were provided to law officials during the shooting incident of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown in August 2014. The shooting took place in Ferguson, Missouri, and forced law agencies across the nation to take a better look at how incidents such as the Brown shooting can be avoided.

Since the shooting, the president of the Police Commission, Steve Soboroff, has been collecting private donations to purchase the first batch of on-body cameras. More than 24 individuals – including Steven Spielberg and Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick – have contributed $1.35 million. The nonprofit Police Foundation also contributed an additional $250,000.

According to reports, the first 700 to 800 Axon Flex cameras will cost the city around $1.6 million. These will be provided by Taser International Inc. and will be worn by officers sometime in Q1 2015. However, they must first be approved by the LAPD's civilian oversight board. Los Angeles plans to purchase 6,300 additional cameras by July 2016, which is expected to cost a whopping $10 million. To help cut that cost down to half, the city will apply for federal funds.

Once installed, will these cameras be on all the time? During the press conference, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck indicated they wouldn't be on throughout the officer's shift. Beck provided a few examples, saying that officers would use a camera when a suspect is in custody. In sexual abuse situations, the camera would be off. The city plans to determine proper use of these devices sometime in Q1 2015.

"No big city department has done this," Beck said. "Officers will have tremendously powerful evidence and the ability to collect it. We are starting a journey that will go on for decades."

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  • darkguy2
    So basically the officer will be able to turn it on when it will help him and turn it off when it doesn't. There needs to be a better system that does not give the decision to record to the officer wearing the camera.
    Reply
  • skit75
    "So basically the officer will be able to turn it on when it will help him and turn it off when it doesn't."

    That is where department policy comes into play.
    Reply
  • Lamontiego
    So, somewhere in between 2100-2200 per camera!?! Anyone else think that is way to high of a price? 1600000/750=2133.00 dollars per camera. SMH
    Reply
  • skit75
    14836567 said:
    So, somewhere in between 2100-2200 per camera!?! Anyone else think that is way to high of a price? 1600000/750=2133.00 dollars per camera. SMH

    Probably pennies compared to some department's settlement checks. Then factor in the cost to Public Relations & HR's cost for paid leave and that camera looks like a cheap deterrent for bad behavior, cops and public alike.
    Reply
  • deftonian
    "So basically the officer will be able to turn it on when it will help him and turn it off when it doesn't. There needs to be a better system that does not give the decision to record to the officer wearing the camera."

    Look, I see where you're coming from but this is a lot more deep than people think. Think about all of those kids/women who are being abused, mutilated, people murdered, raped... with these things being recorded, it leave the door open for files to be leaked, including videos of the above. That means they're also in a position where everything is visible, including your personal information/interaction with the police. Your DL, license plate, car, house, address, anything put in front of the camera is open for hacking and released to the world. There must be a lot of security, policy, etc to go behind all of this. Even then, as we can see these days, things get hacked and leaked.

    While this may help a few situations, it may also cause a storm of others.

    I think they should pilot this for a while in a few cities and first check for its vulnerabilities and effectiveness before making it mainstream.
    Reply
  • skit75
    They have been piloted. The city of Rialto in California just did and the number of reported incidents is telling.

    http://mic.com/articles/92777/3-years-after-this-city-made-cops-wear-cameras-here-s-what-happened-to-police-violence

    These cameras aren't streaming video to youtube..... they work more like liquor store surveillance cameras as I understand them.
    Reply
  • none12345
    2133 per camera for 750 cameras. Thats utter robbery. $200 woudl be too much for these, considering you can buy little r/c cameras for about $40.
    Reply
  • thundervore
    Police camera malfunctions before a citizen is beaten in 3.....2....


    Reply
  • Duckhunt
    The camera's should be streaming continuously say in 720p. When the record button is hit they should be streaming at 1440p and this should blink at that rate.

    Reply
  • neon871
    Officers please turn off your cameras while in the rest room we don't want to see your night sticks!
    Reply