LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A report released Monday by the Los Angeles Office of the Inspector General says police surveillance cameras fail to fully capture footage of “critical” incidents.
One of the critical incidents detailed by the report includes a case in which a man died while in custody at the Southwest Station last September and a shooting at the West Traffic Bureau that resulted in the gunman’s death and left one officer injured.
The two cases prompted the LAPD’s independent watchdog, Inspector General Alexander Bustamante, to conduct a broader audit of camera systems at all 21 stations.
The report, which will be presented to the Police Commission Tuesday, found the department’s camera system and policies to be “inadequate,” with many cameras placed in locations that allowed just partial or no view of holding cells. Cameras also did not have “full coverage” of lobbies and other areas “where the public has unrestricted or unescorted access,” according to the report.
The report also found some stations failed regularly inspect the cameras to see if they are working, with some inoperable cameras discovered only during the review, or when video footage was being requested.
According to the report, many stations also failed to restrict access to camera system workstations and video archives, with login and password information easily accessible in public areas and on commonly used computer networks.
The average 30-day storage of the footage was also a problem, according to the report. Footage was sometimes destroyed before investigations could begin or complaints could be made.
The report recommended that cameras be placed in any area in which the arrest process is taking place, such as at arrestee benches, booking stalls and holding cells. The report also suggests that multiple supervisors at each station be trained in how to use the camera system and retrieve video records; and that a policy be put in place to require station personnel to check regularly to see if cameras are working.
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