In 1991, when Rodney King was beaten by four officers in a small town outside of Los Angeles, the idea for LAPD police officers to be outfitted with video cameras was born.
This past September, less than three minutes into his first public speech as newly crowned President of the Los Angeles Police Commission, Steve Soboroff, a Los Angeles business entrepreneur, set the goal that he would provide on body video cameras for the officers of the LAPD. In less than two months he has reached this goal.
Through an uncustomary fundraising campaign drawing on his many celebrity and wealthy business friends, Soboroff collected over $1 million without having to tap the already beleaguered taxpayers of Los Angeles. Now the city has enough money to equip the officers with over 600 cameras and video storage devices for the next two years.
Soboroff hopes these innovations will prove to reduce department expenses, deterring officers from taking inappropriate actions as well as clearing them against false charges.
The success and the swiftness of Soboroff’ s scheme to raise funds puts to shame the usual plodding and delays that occur when bureaucracies take on these types of endeavors. The donors include: Steven Spielberg, Phil Anschutz of AEG, the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Arthur Coppola, the Macerich Shopping Mall magnet.