By The Associated Press
The head of the Police Commission said Wednesday he has privately raised more than the $1 million to equip hundreds of officers with on-body cameras, a move to increase accountability and reduce complaints by the public.
In September, a week after taking the helm of the LAPD’s civilian oversight board, Steve Soboroff said he hoped to bring in the $1 million necessary to implement the project.
After 51 days, he said he had raised $1.2 million, primarily by word of mouth, and the department can now buy 600 cameras for a field test. The timetable has dropped from a year to nine months.
Soboroff said donations came from Hollywood heavy hitters, including director Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, as well as former Mayor Richard Riordan, media giant Casey Wasserman and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The department plans to begin tests using 60 cameras this month.
Models of the cameras will be on loan from two companies — Arizona-based Taser International Inc. and Coban Technologies Inc. of Houston. After 90 days, the department will recommend one type and draft policies to govern its use.
The LAPD plans to meet with the officers’ union, which supports the cameras, along with the American Civil Liberties Union, members of the City Council and the Police Commission’s inspector general in creating the policies.
Police Chief Charlie Beck will determine who tests the cameras, though Soboroff said motorcycle officers and personnel in areas such as Venice Beach could get them first. The department is also seeking volunteers.
Photo Credit: Ifran Khan/LA Times (October 2013)
Source publication: The Associated Press