CALIFORNIA — The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department announced Tuesday, June 16, county deputies will start wearing body cameras later this year.
The Los Angeles Office of Inspector general issued a report with details about the plan.
The Sheriff’s Department received $34.7 million in funding upon request, according to the report. The County has received multiple bids and anticipate “a vendor will be in place by the end of summer.”
L.A Inspector General Max Huntsman said in the report that LA County has “lagged” behind in promoting the new technology.
“Implementing body-worn cameras is an immediate necessity,” Huntsman said. “Having cameras and a robust policy for their use, data classification, and data storage will promote transparency and public trust.”
Huntsman adds that the policy is similar to the one already implemented by the Los Angeles Police Department. LAPD has required officers to wear body cameras since 2015.
The Inspector General points out provisions in the LAPD policy that “grant supervisors and deputies too much discretion in deciding when to turn on or off a body-worn camera.” Huntsman highlights the policy’s forbidding of “routine or random audits solely for the purpose of discovering misconduct” as an example.
“This and other carveouts potentially shield deputies from accountability,” Huntsman said in the report.
In an Instagram live stream on Friday, June 5, Sheriff Alex Villanueva declared his support for the initiative and said body cameras have alway been one of his priorities. He criticized previous administrations and the Board of Supervisors for not acting on previous studies made about the issue.
“The previous administration had five years…of wasted time, wasted opportunities and four different plans, four different studies and nothing ever came to fruition,” Villanueva said.