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ACLU Urges Feds To Deny Funding For LAPD Body Cameras

LOS ANGELES ( — The Los Angeles Police Department's effort to equip officers with body cameras has run up against an unlikely obstacle: the ACLU of Southern California.

KNX 1070's Claudia Peschiutta reports the ACLU sent a letter Thursday to the U.S. Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Assistance urging it to deny funding for the LAPD's cameras until it revamps its camera policy.

The department plans to provide 7,000 officers with body cameras in the next couple years. It's the nation's largest law enforcement agency to move forward with such an ambitious plan.

The policy, approved by the city Police Commission in April, allows officers to review video before speaking to investigators and says nothing about releasing video to the public.

The ACLU's Peter Bibring is especially concerned about the fact that the LAPD plans to release footage only if compelled to do so in a court proceeding.

"It doesn't promote transparency if the public never gets to see the footage," said Bibring.

But LAPD Capt. Jeff Bert insists the cameras will "improve community relations through improved accountability".

"Body-worn video procedures was not created by the Los Angeles Police Department in a vacuum," Bert said. "In fact, this is a special order approved by the Police Commissioners."

Earlier this week, 80 officers with LAPD Mission Division received body cameras to receive training on how to use the cameras. Mission officers patrol Arleta, Sylmar, North Hills, Mission Hills and Panorama City.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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