LAPD Begins Testing On-Body Cameras in Fight Against Crime

Lapel cameras are used to record officers' actions as well as those they encounter, LAPD chief said.

The LAPD is getting new, high-tech crime fighting tools -- body cameras.

Some 30 officers have volunteered to field test cameras from two different companies for three months to decide which camera system works best, police said on Wednesday.

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The cameras are small and either clip to the front of the officers shirt, shoulder or attach to sunglasses.

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck says the cameras are meant to protect police officers as well as the public.

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“Everything is videotaped and I think the officers should be able to defend their actions by doing their own videotape to show that they are doing the right thing,” Beck said.

During the testing period, the department will meet with the police union, the American Civil Liberties Union and members of the City Council to set guidelines for using the cameras.

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The LAPD plans then to purchase 600 cameras for their officers with more than $1 million from private donations.

The department plans to create a website to allow the public to comment on the use of police body cameras, Beck said.

Since the 1991 beating of Rodney King, the LAPD has worked to bring cameras to its vehicles, but has managed to equip just 300 of its 1,200 patrol cars with the technology.

A week after taking the helm of the LAPD civilian oversight board in September, Police Commission President Steve Soboroff vowed $250,000 from media giant Casey Wasserman and an undisclosed sum from DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg for lapel cameras.

Last May, police in Rialto announced its officers were using lapel cameras.

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