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Los Angeles launches the biggest deployment of body cams in the US on Monday

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On Monday, the LAPD rolls out the first batch of its brand new officer body cameras.

Mission Division in the northeast San Fernando Valley gets the first batch. Newton division in South LA follows in a couple of weeks.

Ultimately, the department's planning on more than 7,000 devices, which will make the city the largest user of the devices in the country.

Though there's a lot of support for body cams, there's a lot of disagreement over how the recordings will be handled. LAPD has said that it will not release footage to the public unless it’s part of a criminal or civil court proceeding. As of now, Los Angeles police officers can review their body-worn video before writing reports or giving statements to internal investigators. That’s where some concerns kick in.

Could the recordings be tampered with? In Seattle, their philosophy towards body-worn video is quite open. Greg Russell, Seattle Police Department’s Chief Information Officers says he hopes that in the future, the video might be live-streamed, automatically redacted (blurred and/or x), and put on a public website all in one process.

Would LAPD ever consider such transparency? How are other cities handling the policy of their body-worn video? Under what circumstances can the police record? What happens when officers forget to turn on camera or it malfunctions?


Greg Meyer, member of the advisory board of Police Magazine and former police captain of the LAPD

Peter Bibring, director of police practices for the ACLU of California

Dan Simon, professor of law and psychology at USC; He wrote a recent Op-Ed in the LA Times supporting officers' right to view body cam footage before making a report

Dan Gomez, sergeant and officer in charge of tactical technology section at the Los Angeles Police Department.