LA Plans To Spend $58 Million On Police Body Cameras

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Amber Randall Civil Rights Reporter
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After lengthy debates and a six month delay, a Los Angeles city council committee finally reached an agreement Tuesday on a plan to spend approximately $58 million on police body cameras.

The city council’s Public Safety committee reached an unanimous agreement that will allow the City Council to vote Wednesday on the measure, according to the LA Times. The measure outlines a plan for the city to purchase body cameras from Taser International for the Los Angeles Police Department, which would cost city taxpayers approximately $58 million over five years.

The measure would make the LAPD the first police department to enact a large scale use of body cameras with its police department. Last year, Council members voiced their displeasure with the program, saying that it was too expensive and companies claimed that the process to compete for the body camera bid was unfair.

A councilman who before said that the measure would take away important funds from other safety needs, told the LA Times that he was now “comfortable” with the police body camera measure.

Joe Buscaino, the councilman, told the LA Times that the police officer are in support of the body cameras, because they want to show the public “the professionalism, the courtesy they employ every single day.”

There are still critics of the program who say that the body cameras will hurt attempts to better police oversight. The American Civil Liberties Union of South Carolina repeatedly spoke out about LAPD’s policy to only release police body camera footage with a court order.

“The LAPD’s program, while perhaps the biggest … is not even close to being the best,” said Catherine Wagner, an ACLU attorney. She suggested that lawmakers wait until the LAPD policy is fixed.

LAPD estimates that the earliest police officers will have body cameras is by fall of 2017.

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Amber Randall