Yesterday Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced a plan to purchase some 7,000 body cameras for purposes of outfitting the LAPD.
Given what’s been happening all over the country, from the Michael Brown case in Ferguson to Eric Garner’s death in New York, the issue of police transparency has certainly taken hold of the hearts and minds of the voting public, with trust between police and populace dissipating with each controversial incident. Although cameras are not a catch-all type solution, the mayor sees them as a key element in maintaing trust between the citizens of L.A. and the folks who are paid to protect and serve.
Garcetii per the L.A. Times:
“The trust between a community and its police department can be eroded in a single moment. Trust is built on transparency.”
The interesting thing here is that private donors footing the bill for this initial purchase of cameras. The Times also reports that Steve Soboroff, president of the Police Commission, has spent months spearheading an effort to raise private money pay for the cameras ($1 million in private money was raised) while the mayor’s plan would supplement the contract the LAPD was already negotiating with the camera vendor, the idea being that eventually even more officers are outfitted with cameras over time.
Although no firm date for implementation of the cameras was announced, there was a 90 day pilot program that took place earlier this year where officers tried out the cameras and insights were gathered with input from the inspector general, the American Civil Liberties Union and other law enforcement agencies that have implemented the technology, the Times reports.