Body cameras discussion to continue for Board of Supervisors

A Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputy takes cover behind an SUV at the scene of a search for a suspect near the 26400 block of Ruether Avenue on Aug. 14, 2017. Austin Dave/The Signal

At the next Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors meeting, an $84 million plan in support of body-worn cameras for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will be further discussed.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas authored a motion to bring in a consultant to the meeting to discuss reports and analyses on the cameras, and decide on recommendations for proposed policies with inputs from stakeholders.

The initiative to consider body-worn cameras began in July 2016, when the board approved a motion that directed the county CEO Sachi Hamai and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to prepare a budget proposal for body-worn camera plans.

In October 2017, Hamai determined that body-worn cameras would cost $84 million over four years and require 302 additional staff. Of that amount, $76 million and 239 additional staff would be for the department to manage, review and edit the hours of video that would be captured. This amount would cover the deployment of 5,895 cameras, according to the report.

However, the report recommends that more direction is needed before deciding whether and how to implement body-worn cameras, the report said.

In his motion, Ridley-Thomas cited high-profile shootings of black men such as Michael Brown and Eric Garner that necessitated exploring the issue.

If it were to pass, the sheriff’s department’s proposal calls for releasing body cam video to the public upon request unless it impedes an investigation or an individual’s privacy.

The first year would be spent choosing a camera vendor and setting up infrastructure for deputies to upload the video, per the sheriff’s plan.

The second year would focus efforts on rolling out cameras at six sheriff’s stations, with a focus on areas with high rates of crime, arrests and legal claims. At full deployment, 5,895 patrol and other deputies who regularly come in contact with the public would carry cameras.

It is unclear when, if the plan passed, the individual stations throughout L.A. County would see body cameras in those four years.


Related To This Story

Latest NEWS