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Body cameras sought for hundreds of LAPD officers

This image from video shows a tiny camera lense attached to the sunglasses worn by an LAPD officer Los Angeles Police Dept. via CBS Los Angeles

(CBS) LOS ANGELES  - The LAPD is preparing to outfit 600 officers with body cameras it says will cut down on lawsuits, CBS Los Angeles reported.

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 LA Police Commission and a former mayoral candidate.

The commission recently secured funding for the cameras. CBS Los Angeles reports that within two months, the  commission reached its $1.3-million fundraising goal thanks to donations from JM Eagle President Walter Wang, the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team, philanthropist Casey Wasserman, former Mayor Richard Riordan, entertainment executive Jeffrey Katzenberg, film director Steven Spielberg and AEG owner Phil Anschutz.

According to the station, the funds will go towards purchasing the cameras, as well as storage and security of recorded material.

The pilot program is to begin this summer. Officers are currently 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 told CBS Los Angeles.

The ACLU and the police union, despite backing the plan, both 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.

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,” said Soboroff.

He expects to test the police body cameras for at least a year and then implement them for the entire force, saying  it would cost $2 million to equip the approximately 1,800 officers deployed at any given time.



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