LAPD implementing body cams in hopes of rebuilding trust

Body cameras may be a vital tool to record evidence in police shootings. On Monday, the Los Angeles Police Department became one of the biggest to equip its officers.

By the end of next year, more than 7,000 Los Angeles police officers will be wearing body cameras -- the latest tool in a 25-year effort to improve community relations.

Capt. Phillip Tingirides has been with the LAPD since 1980 -- through the Rodney King case, riots and several cases of police corruption. He says it has been a real struggle to rebuild trust.

"There is no quick fix to changing culture," he said. "We had to change the culture in the community and we had to change the culture in the police department. Those things take time."

Restoring relationships between police and communities they serve

Tingirides says in 2008 his officers began connecting with kids in school, but it wasn't easy.

"Literally, kids ran away from us, screaming 'They are going to arrest us. They are here to arrest us,'" he said. "Officers were going every single Friday. We were reading in the classes. It completely changed the dynamics of the relationship."

Iona Diggs is a community activist who started working with the LAPD 27 years ago when she finally got fed up with the crime on her own street.

"I would come home from work and the drug dealers were sitting on my porch," she said. "And I said 'I've had enough. This is enough.' So I called LAPD."

DOJ to fund $20M police body camera program

But what did they do differently to change the neighborhood?

"More patrol, better patrol," said Diggs. "They got out and got to know people. I want people to realize that if you work with the LAPD, we can get stuff done."

The total cost for the 7,000 cameras is between $10 million and $11 million. The public will not have immediate access to the video, which is already drawing transparency concerns from critics.