'Smile', You're On An LAPD Camera

The LAPD has spent about 18 months gathering input, holding hearings, and formulating policies for the widespread use of so called 'on body' video cameras. The Department will become the largest in the country out of some 4000 agencies to put them on almost every officer out in the field.

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Sounds good, in theory, but not everyone is happy with the results, especially Peter Bibring of the American Civil Liberties Union . (https://www.aclusocal.org/ )

He says the Department should have held public hearings on the policies after spending so much time on the process, instead, they were announced Friday at the end of the day and approved today by a vote of 3-1. "This is one of the most important policy decision and change in a decade.. shouldn't be handled in such short notice with such little scrutiny. It's deeply troubling.."The basic concept is the cameras are turned on by the officer in almost every investigative and enforcement activities, except say , in the case of a rape victim being interviewed, or a person who is adamant about not wanting to be recorded.

Officers of course cannot tamper with or modify or delete the videos in any way, but they may, in fact they will be expected to review the video of routine cases before writing reports. Then in a controversial plan, officers will also be able to review videos of ''categorical'' uses of force, such as shootings or head strikes with batons, before they write reports. Chief Beck says it's to enhance accuracy, the ACLU says it would enable officers to ''get their stories straight' and undermines the so called ''transparency'' that is everyone's goal.

Chief Beck, (http://lapdonline.org/) who says his goal is to also ''protect the criminal justice process'' says he will not , as a general rule, allow controversial videos to be released to the public, ''which is not to say he'll never do it''. He knows that is a hot button issue, and that other departments have different standards and policies. So the LAPD video era has begun, (thought they've had in car video cameras for 5 year) the question is, who'll ever see it ?

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