Cameras On Cops: Should It Happen Here?

Complaints against officers fell dramatically, as did use of force, when Rialto officers got hooked up.

A Newport Beach police officer on patrol. (Photo courtesy Newport Beach Police Department)
A Newport Beach police officer on patrol. (Photo courtesy Newport Beach Police Department)
By City News Service

Video technology has improved dramatically in recent years. For example, it's not unusual for motocross riders to strap a camera to their helmet to show what he sees while flying through the air.

Would the technology work with the Newport Beach Police Department?

In Los Angeles, City Councilman Mitch Englander wants the police department to begin testing out cameras its officers can wear on their bodies.

Police Commissioner Steve Soboroff last week touched off discussion about the cameras when he vowed that they be in place by next year.

Complaints against officers in the San Bernardino County city of Rialto fell by 88 percent and use of force went down almost 60 percent after its police force began using the cameras, according to a University of Cambridge study cited by Englander.

His motion asks that the police department be directed to work with a company called Taser International Inc. to "identify the styles of body camera to be worn" and test out the "police-worn camera technology" on 25 police officers.

Officers who do not work patrol—possibly from the SWAT, K-9 and Metro units—should be the ones to test the technology, according to the motion, which was assigned to the Public Safety Committee.

The police department would be asked to report back in 90 days with findings from the field test.

TELL US IN THE COMMENTS: Do you like the idea of police having cameras on their bodies?

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Chip Long September 18, 2013 at 04:23 PM
I think it is a good idea, however I would like to also know the cost before I would say yes. We don't seem to have many lawsuits against the police, except for police suing the department or the city, in which case we have paid out millions.
Mark Adams September 19, 2013 at 09:34 AM
Ever notice that the majority of the people screaming that the police used excessive force on them are serious criminals? We want the police to protect us but we don't want them to protect themselves? I think LA should consider how they're going to get themselves out of the financial ruin they're in and stop looking for ways to pander to a portion of their community. As for NBPD, when do they apply excessive force? Why would we spend the money? Do we really want our officers encumbered by more gear that isn't designed to protect them?


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