LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles police officers will begin field testing 60 on-body cameras starting in November as part of a pilot program designed to increase accountability and reduce complaints against officers.
The Los Angeles Police Department’s chief information officer, Maggie Goodrich, provided the update Tuesday to the Police Commission, the LAPD’s civilian oversight board.
Goodrich said the department will receive different styles of cameras on loan from two companies — Arizona-based Taser International Inc. and Coban Technologies Inc. of Houston. After 90 days, the department will recommend one type of camera and draft policies to govern its use.
The department plans to meet with the union that represents police officers, which supports the use of the on-body cameras, the American Civil Liberties Union, city councilmembers and the Police Commission’s inspector general in creating its policies. Sgt. Dan Gomez said he’s been filling a binder with “best practices” and manuals from other departments using the technology to help inform the LAPD’s plans.
Police Commission President Steve Soboroff also has pushed the $1 million effort, privately raising nearly $900,000 in donations from Hollywood heavyweights, the Los Angeles Dodgers and others, including Occidental Petroleum Corp. That money will help fund roughly 500 cameras that will be used for a larger pilot program, officials said.
The effort to add on-body cameras is in addition to a longtime city goal of equipping the department’s 1,200 patrol cars with video recorders. Since the 1991 beating of Rodney King, the LAPD has worked to bring in-car cameras to its vehicles but has only managed to equip 300 cars with the technology. It recently has worked to expand that to 400 to 500 more police cruisers; that measure may go to City Council for approval as early as next week, Goodrich said.
The process has been slowed by the city’s complicated and lengthy procurement process, Goodrich said.
Police Chief Charlie Beck will work with department officials to determine where field testing will take place, but they’re also looking for volunteers.
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