LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The LA Police Commission recently secured funding to outfit 600 officers with body cameras and says the devices will cut down on lawsuits.
The camera lenses are as small as a dime and the devices can be easily clipped on to shirt lapels, hats or glasses.
“When people get tickets or get arrested they’re going to be taped,” said Steve Soboroff, head of the commission and a former mayoral candidate.
Within two months, the commission reached their $1.3-million fundraising goal after receiving donations from JM Eagle President Walter Wang, the Dodgers baseball team, philanthropist Casey Wasserman, former Mayor Richard Riordan, entertainment executive Jeffrey Katzenberg, film director Steven Spielberg and AEG owner Phil Anschutz.
The funds will go towards purchasing the cameras, as well as storage and security of recorded material.
The pilot program is slated to begin this summer. Meanwhile, officers are already testing out various camera models before the commission makes the final purchase.
During testing, public comments will be accepted in formulating a “set of rules for the use of the cameras that is respectful for people on both sides of the cameras,” Soboroff said,
He says police underwent the same process when the department first rolled out patrol car cameras.
Though in support of the idea, the ACLU and the police union have concerns.
“When do my members turn it on and when do they turn it off? And do I want my daughter, if she’s the victim of a crime, to have that camera on or off?” said Det. Tyler Izen of the LA Police Protective League.
Soboroff expects to test the cameras for at least a year and then implement them for the entire force. It would cost $2 million to equip the approximately 1,800 officers deployed at any given time, which would be funded by the city or private donors.
The camera footage will also cut into the time and money spent on lawsuits filed against the LAPD, Soboroff says.
“Complaints against officers, he-said-she-said, go down by 50 and 60 percent, and in a large city like this that can save millions of dollars,” he said.