The Los Angeles Police Department plans to install cameras in 300 patrol cars in South Los Angeles in order to increase transparency and capture footage of officers' interactions with suspects. The initiative, heavily supported by the civilian panel that oversees the LAPD, costs roughly $5.5 million, money Police Chief Charlie Beck says was allocated to the police department before the economic crisis began.
"This digital data will not only shine a light on apprehension procedures but it will also protect our police officers from frivolous or unwarranted claims," Mayor Villaraigosa stated.
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According to Police Commission President John Mack, the federal judge who monitored a consent decree at the police department following the 1990s Rampart Scandal wanted the digital video cameras to help weed out racial profiling.
Beck, who wants to spend another $20 million on in-car cameras, says he wants the ability to watch the actions of his officers live.
"One of the holy grails that we are trying here is being able to watch streaming video from the dash-cams of police cars, ya know, in my bedroom or wherever I need to see it," he told KPCC 89.3.
The digital video system could eventually be expanded to the rest of LAPD's 1,600 patrol cars.