The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has proposed hiring forensic video specialists to analyze deputy-involved shootings and other critical incidents.
The request for 32 specialists is part of a $55 million-a-year body camera proposal that Sheriff Jim McDonnell sent to the LA County Board of Supervisors on Friday, reports NBC4 media partner KPCC.
Analysts would look for glitches caused by things like video compression, which could fail to capture or misrepresent critical fractions of a second, said Sheriff's Capt. Chris Marks, adding that even a quarter of a second could be critical in an officer-involved shooting because of the speed with which a person could turn toward or away from an officer.
Parris Ward, an outside consultant to the Los Angeles Police Department who reviews videos for them on an as-needed basis and who has been an expert witness for the sheriff's department in cases involving dash cam and security video, said compressed video rarely makes or breaks a case.
"I haven't seen it be a critical factor very often," he said, adding that more common problems include low resolution and wide angles, which can make people look like they're moving toward an officer more quickly than they actually are.
The sheriff department's proposal calls for hiring 239 people in all, including more detectives, IT staff and personnel for a new bureau that would oversee the program.