CALIFORNIA — The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will begin wearing body cameras during any public-interactions starting this Fall according to a report issued by the Los Angeles County Office of Inspector General on Tuesday, June, 16.
The official memorandum comes after a September 2019 motion by the LA County Board of Supervisors to implement the practice. The sheriff’s department was approved $34.7 million to fulfill the project. Throughout the next two years, about 5,000 deputies and security officers will be equipped with the devices.
“LASD has lagged far behind other major police in the incorporation of video technology as a means of police supervision and public accountability,” said Inspector General Max Huntsman
LAPD first enforced officers to wear body cameras five years ago. A pilot program was initially started in 2014 by the Sheriff’s Dept. but did not garner much traction since then.
The practice will follow similar protocols that have been utilized by the LAPD. At the end of each shift, officers must upload all body-worn camera recordings to a secure server by docking the device at the station/unit. If an incident occurs that is classified as a Category 3 use of force, the recorded footage will be securely transferred to the supervising officers as well as lieutenant or watch commanders. However, in place of an investigation, deputies will have the opportunity to review the footage before making a statement.
“Implementing body-worn cameras is an immediate necessity. Having cameras and robust policy for their use, data classification, and data storage will promote transparency and public trust,” said Huntsman. “This step forward, slow as it is, is historic.”
Deputies in Lancaster, South L.A, Lakewood, Industry, and West Hollywood will be the first to be given the sets according to Sheriff Alex Villanueva. Villanueva during a town hall on Monday with Lancaster and Palmdale residents blamed predecessors for the delay of implementing the practice.
“The previous administration had five years … of wasted time, wasted opportunities and four different plans, four different studies and nothing ever came to fruition,” said Villanueva.
The ordinance comes in place of several protests nationwide against police brutality, calling for the reform of the law enforcement practices.