Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Police Chief Charlie Beck announced that LAPD officers will officially begin wearing on-body cameras that will record their interactions with civilians.
The new effort begins with 800 taser body cameras funded by more than $1.5 million in private donations. The Mayor said that his next budget will include funding to outfit the entire department with body cameras.
The Mayor's statement from the release:
Out on the street, things aren't always clear cut. These cameras will help law enforcement and the public alike find the truth — and truth is essential to the trust between the LAPD and the community, which has been a key factor in lowering crime to record lows," Mayor Garcetti said. "I want to make sure LAPD is on the cutting edge when it comes to crime suppression and constitutional policing.
The LAPD is hardly the only department adopting cameras, but this effort he most ambitious wide-scale roll out to date. Most large cities from Las Vegas to New Orleans to New York remain in the testing phase at this point.
The LAPD frequently finds itself in bitter confrontations with its community. It began testing the technology with 30 cameras back in January.
Body cameras have recently been thrust into the center of the debate over police violence against civilians. The family of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri has stated that it should be a national priority, and President Obama has proposed $75 million in funding to help the nation's police departments acquire and store the hardware. Though body cameras have been demonstrably shown to help reduce police violence they remain controversial. Opponents argue that the evidence won't ultimately be useful, and that the cameras amount to nothing more than another surveillance system that will be abused.
The LAPD is one of the biggest departments in the country, so you better believe this is the way the current's going.
Updating as we learn more....