The Los Angeles City Counsel’s Public Safety Committee has voted 3-1 to approve the installation of video cameras in Los Angeles Police Department patrol cars. Cameras had been recommended by the Christopher Commission, which investigated the LAPD in the wake of the beating of motorist Rodney King by LAPD officers – a beating captured on videotape by a civilian. The cameras will also satisfy a requirement of the Consent Decree between the City and the federal government entered into in the wake of the scandal involving corrupt anti-gang officers from the Department’s Rampart Division.
The contract still must be approved by the full Los Angeles City Counsel and also by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. The one dissenting Committee member cited concerns that IBM, who would be charged with installing the cameras in the patrol cars, would not use Los Angeles based companies, and, therefore, that Los Angeles would not be re-investing in its own economy.
The cameras could be activated manually by officers, or automatically by certain “triggers” such as when the officer activates the patrol car’s lights or siren, or when airbags are deployed, or when the car’s shotgun is removed. The LAPD’s long term goal is to install such cameras in all of its police cars, at an estimated cost of roughly $34million.
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