LAPD Orders 3,000 Tasers That Activate Body Cameras When Used
On Tuesday the LAPD and Taser announced that they have ordered over 3,000 Tasers designed to automatically turn on the LAPD's new body cameras when they're used.The X26P Taser uses Bluetooth technology to turn on a connected camera when the safety switch is thrown (not unlike the dashboard cameras in police cars that automatically turn on when the sirens or flashing lights are activated). In addition to recording video, the data collected will include the date, time, duration of the firing, and how long suspects have the thousands of volts of electricity pulse through them.
The move comes in the wake of national concerns over police brutality and several highly publicized killings of unarmed black men by police in the past year, including Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Ezell Ford. Although the number of Tasers ordered will number less than half of the 7,000 body cameras Mayor Eric Garcetti announced in December, Chief Charlie Beck says that it is only the beginning of a plan to equip every officer with the new technology. "[W]e plan to issue a body-worn camera and a TASER device to every officer. It is our goal to make these important tools available to every front line officer over the next few years," Beck said in a statement.
Although there has been a push to equip police officers across the country with body cameras, many remain skeptical over whether or not doing so will actually increase accountability. Eric Garner's death was captured on video, after all, and a grand jury failed to indict the officers responsible for his death. And there's no guarantee that the public will be able to see the videos taken on those body cameras.