President Soboroff's Comments on the On-Body Camera Policy January 14, 2015Good evening. On behalf of my colleagues I want to thank you for taking the time to attend tonight’s Police Commission to provide your input into what you believe the Los Angeles Police Department policy governing the use of On-Body Cameras should contain.
The first item of business is any comments from my fellow Commissioners …………..
I would now like to introduce Councilmember Curren Price for a few comments. Welcome councilman….
As background on how we got to where we are this evening in August 2013 when appointed to the Police Commission by Mayor Eric Garcetti I surveyed dozens of folks knowledgeable about law enforcement including Councilmember Englander, the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the ACLU, etc. and was surprised to hear how virtually everyone wanted on-officer cameras (even for different reasons) so we focused on the potential value of the emerging technology of On-Body Cameras for both sides of the camera, and at the same time, the limited funds available to the City of Los Angeles for this technology which will benefit both the community members and police officers who will wear the On-Body Cameras. This technology will provide an independent view of the interaction or action that a police officer has with a community member. With that a significant community fund raising effort was launched with approximately 1.6 million dollars raised from private sources and donated to the Los Angeles Police Foundation. The Department did a pilot project, testing a variety of cameras and storage applications, ultimately recommending the Taser On-Body Camera be purchased by the Police Foundation with the funds raised. Sufficient funds exist to purchase approximately 800 On-Body Cameras. You will hear more about the testing and selection process in a few moments from Sergeant Dan Gomez.
After the tragic events in Ferguson, Missouri, the family of Michael Brown, from the depth of their grief, called for on-body cameras for every law enforcement officer in America. President Obama followed with support and major funding for the purchase of On-Body Cameras for every law enforcement agency in the Country. In Los Angeles we have had incidents of use of force, as recently as the officer involved shooting of Mr. Ezell Ford that have occurred where the video from an On-Body Camera would be additional information in an investigation to get to the truth of the mater and what occurred.
Mayor Garcetti announced on December 16, 2014 that he was including in his budget for the Fiscal Year beginning July 1, 2015 sufficient funding to buy an additional 7,000 On-Body Cameras. His goal is to record every officer interaction with the public by July 2016. On behalf of my colleagues I want to thank Councilman Curren Price for his support of this project.
The Department is in the process of developing a draft of the policy and has sought community input through a number of small focus groups, the use of an on-line survey which can be found at www.lapdonline.org and we also have available tonight at the back of the room a document with a number of questions on which you can write your responses and submit to one of the officers in attendance. The Police Commission has sent to over 1,000 individuals who have provided their e-mail address to the Commission to receive various messages a survey which they can complete.
The draft policy once completed early next week, will be presented to the Los Angeles Police Protective League for a required Meet & Confer process. After the completion of that process the final policy will be presented to the Police Commission for approval at a regular Commission meeting. At that time the public will have the opportunity to review and make comments on the final policy prior to its approval by the Police Commission.
Tonight you will first receive an introduction as to what the Department views is the benefit of the On-Body Camera to the Department and the public. That introduction will be provided by our Chief of Police Charlie Beck. Next Sergeant Dan Gomez will provide you with a demonstration of the On-Body Camera, the field testing and selection process and explain a number of the anticipated policies regarding the operation On-Body Camera.
Once that is completed we will take public comment. If you wish to speak please fill out a speaker card which is available at the back of the room or from one of the officers. When your name is called please come to the microphone and provide your comments and ask any questions. In order to not interrupt you as you are making your comments or asking your questions we will be keeping track of your questions and at the conclusion of the public comment period the Department, Sergeant Gomez or a member of the Commission will answer your question. Managing the meeting in this manner will ensure that we can hear your comments and questions without interruption, you can get your questions answered and we can all leave at a reasonable hour.
Some of what we would like to hear from you is your thoughts on:
• When should officers turn the camera on and under what circumstances should they turn them off?
• Should officers tell individuals they are being recorded?
• Should all interactions with the public be recorded?
• Are there instances or locations where you believe recordings should not take place?
• How should the LAPD protect the privacy of those individuals who are recorded on video?
• Do you believe officers should be able to view the video prior to writing the necessary reports?
• Do you believe that Department supervisors should regularly review the video captured to ascertain opportunities for training?
With that lets begin and remember please adhere to the 2 minutes and when you hear the timer your time is concluded.
Thank you, Chief Beck would you please provide your comments and introduce Sergeant Dan Gomez.