L.A. Police Try Body Cameras to Protect Officers, Public

L.A. Police Try Body Cameras to Protect Officers, Public

As Daniele Watts’s story of racial bias unravels, police are discussing a pilot program that is currently being tested by Los Angeles County sheriff’s stations, in which four different types of body cameras are being used to record everything that occurs between law enforcement officials and everyday citizens.

“It’s given me the peace of mind that the person I’m dealing with is not going to say the opposite of what happened. It’s all recorded, and the transparency is there,” said Dennis Conway, who serves as a patrol deputy at Carson station, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The four camera prototypes are reportedly being tested at four sheriff’s locations; namely Lancaster, Temple, Century and Carson, notes the Times. One of the four cameras is called the Taser Axon Flex and can be clipped onto the deputies’ shirt collars, sunglasses, helmets or police caps. The other three cameras can be attached to law enforcement officials’ shirts. 

The goal is to provide an accurate documentation–on both sides–of what happens in certain situations and protect both parties from any potential lies that could be spread as a result of lacking tangible evidence or proof of what occurred.

Sheriff’s officials with the Los Angeles Police Department told the Times that the pilot program has “been in the works for over a year and is not a response to the controversial police shootings of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., or Ezell Ford in Los Angeles.” 

However, incidents such as those as well as the recent allegations by Django Unchained actress Daniele Watts who “cried wolf” by apparently falsely accusing LAPD Sgt. Jim Parker of pulling the “race card” when he responded to calls of “lewd acts” by witnesses, are a reminder that cameras can protect officers as well as citizens by recording the truth and providing a real-time account of what actually transpired. 

“At least there’ll be some objective evidence of what transpired during the discussion,” said civil rights attorney R. Samuel Paz. 

Sgt. Parker stated that he fears false allegations such as those brought forward by Watts could have ruined his career if he and his fellow officers on the scene had not recorded their run-in with Watts, notes the Daily Mail. “She picked the wrong person to make a public incident out of a private matter,” stated the 25-year veteran of the LAPD.

The LAPD reportedly already has some body cameras that they have tested on Skid Row, and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department is slated to receive some of their own in the coming months.  

A full-scale implementation of the cameras is a decision that will be reserved for Los Angeles County’s next sheriff, who will be elected in November.


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