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L.A. Is Ready To Equip Its Police Force With Body Cameras

All LAPD Officers will be outfitted with body cameras (Photo by Chris Yarzab via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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Mayor Eric Garcetti will announce today his plans for equipping all LAPD officers with body cameras. In a statement from the Mayor's office, Garcetti said that this is a project L.A. has been working on for over a year and that "with this program, L.A. will be a national leader in the use of these cameras." Garcetti will talk about how the cameras will be implemented into the LAPD's force at a press conference today at 2 p.m., The Daily Breeze reports.

The argument for police officers to wear body cameras isn't a new one, but it has gained momentum since the shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, at the hands of former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. There were conflicting witness reports, as well as evidence that contradicted what Wilson said happened. If Wilson had been wearing a body camera, there would have presumably been a video of the incident.

The case for body cameras has positives for both officers and civilians. An officer who abused his power could be caught, but also cleared if he or she was falsely accused.

Steve Soboroff, President of the L.A. Board of Police Commissioners, is a proponent of body cameras. He has worked on raising private funds for the endeavor, and over $1 million has been raised so far, the L.A. Times reports. Soboroff also said that the mayor's plan would work with the contract LAPD was already working on with the camera vendor.

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LAPD officers had previously tested different types of cameras to determine which would be the best. They decided to go with a brand from Taser, Inc. that looks like a pager, KPCC reports. LAPD officials also held discussions with people from the American Civil Liberties Union and other police departments that have fitted their officers with body cameras.

Of course, body cameras aren't a magical device. We need to only look at the case of Eric Garner, who was killed when put in a chokehold by arresting officers in Staten Island. The entire thing was caught on video, and a grand jury still chose not to indict those officers, resulting in even more protests and unrest.