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The Long Beach City Council unanimously voted in favor for the Long Beach Police Department to partake in a year-long pilot test of body cameras on Jan. 5,
Approximately 50 officers, who were chosen at random, patrolling the city’s western neighborhoods, will begin wearing body cameras in early spring of this year along with thousands of other officers around the country.
According to Commander Paul LeBaron the main objectives of this program are officer and citizen accountability, reducing injuries and reducing officer uses of force.
The year-long pilot program is estimated to cost no more than $210, 100 for the body worn camera equipment, software support, officer training and cloud storage according to the proposal. The program also offers the option to renew for two more one-year periods at the discretion of the city manager.
The contracted pilot program by Texas-based Dell Marketing will provide around 50 officers with the necessary equipment for the program. The original proposal, which was pulled from the November agenda, called for 100 cameras but was reduced.
The number of cameras was reduced because after consulting with academics, the police department was informed that half the number of cameras would give them just as accurate results.
“We are trying to be fiscally responsible,” said Commander LeBaron. “So there is no reason to go out and buy twice as many (cameras) than what we need when we can get the same result with less.”
The footage captured on the body cameras will be accessible to the officers involved to help them file accurate reports and make sure they can testify in court. The public will have access to footage that does not have anything to do with criminal complaints or allegations of misconduct, which would lead to a personnel investigation.
“If there is anything else out there that the people would like to see, they do have access to it,” said Commander LeBaron. “We are going to refer them to the public record request act protocol and we would provide it to them.”
In lieu of the recent police-involved shootings and brutality controversy, various police departments have adapted to police-worn body cameras in hopes that it will not only provide accountability but also reduce injuries when it comes to both officers and citizens.
See more at: http://www.longbeachcomber.com/story.aspx?artID=5400&arc=1