LA Deputies’ Private Body Cams Raise Transparency Questions -

LA Deputies’ Private Body Cams Raise Transparency Questions

Credit: fox40.com

  • Aug 12 2017 23:04About: 2 months ago
  • 5 views

LOS ANGELES — America’s largest sheriff’s department still lacks a policy for body cameras after years of studying the issue, so hundreds — perhaps thousands — of its deputies have taken matters into their own hands and bought the cameras themselves.

It’s reassuring for those Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies who have the devices, which sell for about $100 online, but it raises a host of thorny questions about transparency. Chief among them: How can the public be assured critical footage will be shared if there are no policies for what gets disclosed?

“It’s a recipe for disaster,” said Melanie Ochoa, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California. “I would imagine officers would be quite willing to turn it over if it paints them in a good light, but what is the access if it does not?”

Nearly every large U.S. police department has a policy for officers who wear body cameras, and it has become somewhat common to see video from these cameras emerge — sometimes due to court orders — following high-profile shootings and other clashes.

An estimated 20 percent of Los Angeles County’s 10,000 deputies have bought cameras for themselves, according to the county’s inspector general. Sheriff Jim McDonnell concedes some deputies have their own cameras but disputes that as many as 2,000 wear them on duty.

Whatever the number, not a single frame of any video from these cameras has ever made it into the public domain.

A 2014 report released by the U.S. Justice Department and the Police Executive Research Forum advised police departments against allowing officers to use body cameras they purchased themselves.

“Because the agency would not own the recorded data, there would be little or no protection against the officer tampering with the videos or releasing them to the public or online,” the report said. “Agencies should not permit personnel to use privately owned body-worn cameras while on duty.”

There are some U.S. police agencies that allow officers to wear personal body cameras, but they have adopted policies to address those concerns.

A police department in northern Indiana adopted a policy in January that allows its officers to buy and wear their own body cameras. The Mishawaka Police Department’s rules came after a year of discussions about how to store and handle the recordings. A police official said in January that about 10 officers were wearing their own cameras.

In 2015, a video from a southern Ohio officer’s personal body camera showed the officer pointing his gun but not firing at the suspect who charged yelling, “Shoot me!”

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is developing a policy that would set out guidelines for deputies who wear their own cameras, though it’s unclear when that policy will be finalized and put in place.

“It’s something we saw the need for, we initiated it, and it is working its way through the system,” McDonnell told The Associated Press.

Deputies have never captured any use-of-force incidents or fatal shootings on personally owned body cameras, McDonnell said.

The sheriff’s department said it is confident its policies on confidentiality and professional standards would hold deputies accountable. Those policies require deputies to keep any evidence, including audio and video recordings, for at least two years and to turn it over to the department when requested, officials said.

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Nicole Nishida denied the AP’s request to see drafts of the policies the department says are being crafted.

Ron Hernandez, president of the union that represents rank-and-file deputies in Los Angeles, says most deputies who bought their own cameras want to protect themselves in case someone alleges misconduct.

“It’s really a personal preference,” Hernandez said. “The guys we have spoken to have said they thought it would be beneficial for them. They see the value in covering themselves.”

But Hernandez dismissed civil libertarians’ concerns that deputies would potentially abuse the footage because the department was not officially storing it.

“I would hope that if a deputy is recording, he is retaining it,” Hernandez said. “It would be counterproductive to a guy to get his own camera to cover himself and then assume he’s going to manipulate the footage. He’d be better off not having anything.”



Follow Us on Twitter

ANGELES America’s largest sheriff’s department still lacks policy body cameras after years studying issue hundreds perhaps thousands deputies have taken matters into their hands bought themselves. It’s reassuring those Angeles County devices which sell about $100 online raises host thorny questions transparency. Chief among them: public assured critical […]

Related stories with LA Deputies’ Private Body Cams Raise Transparency Questions

Lawsuit Claims Teenage Detainees Were Wrongly Tied to Gangs -World News
Lawsuit Claims Teenage Detainees Were Wrongly Tied to Gangs 2 months ago
NEW YORK (AP) — Some teenagers who entered the United States under the unaccompanied-children program are being illegally detained because of allegations of gang affiliation, the American Civil Liberties Union says in a lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed in
Here's how to turn off autoplay videos on Facebook and Twitter -World News
Here's how to turn off autoplay videos on Facebook and Twitter 2 months ago
Autoplay can be annoying, or worse.
Princess Diana’s wedding dress designer reveals HORRIFIC memory of late Royal -World News
Princess Diana’s wedding dress designer reveals HORRIFIC memory of late Royal 2 months ago
PRINCESS DIANA’S wedding dress designer has spoken about the late Royal in a touching new interview.
Mo Farah BLANKS Linford Christie at World Athletics Championship  -World News
Mo Farah BLANKS Linford Christie at World Athletics Championship 2 months ago
BBC sports commentators were left shocked at the World Athletics Championship after it looked like Mo Farah ignored Linford Christie.
The Moneyologist: My adoptive parents ostracized me because I’m gay — do I have a claim on their estate? -World News
The Moneyologist: My adoptive parents ostracized me because I’m gay — do I have a claim on their estate? 2 months ago
This man’s sister refuses to return his calls after their death of their mother.
Rio Ferdinand curates playlist in memory of late mum featuring song called Saddest Day -World News
Rio Ferdinand curates playlist in memory of late mum featuring song called Saddest Day 2 months ago
The former footballer, 38, was heartbroken by the death of Janice St Fort last month to cancer
Mel B's ex-nanny reveals full 'truth' about her bizarre relationship with star and husband in explosive 128 page statement -World News
Mel B's ex-nanny reveals full 'truth' about her bizarre relationship with star and husband in explosive 128 page statement 2 months ago
German model Lorraine Gilles, 26, said being filmed romping with the ex-Spice Girl and her movie producer husband made her feel “very uncomfortable”
New Balance Launches the 247 in an
New Balance Launches the 247 in an "Infrared" Colorway 2 months ago
New Balance continues to have a strong summer season with the release of a new "Infrared" colorway of its 247 model. Using the brand's REVlite technology for the sole, this New Balance 247 colorway sees mesh and neoprene materials used for the upper. Hits
GPS satellite launch postponed due to glitch -World News
GPS satellite launch postponed due to glitch 2 months ago
Japan on Saturday postponed the planned launch of an H-2A rocket tasked to put a geo-positioning satellite into orbit due to possible helium gas leakage, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries…
Alabama football: Field goal kicking still a work in progress following first scrimmage -World News
Alabama football: Field goal kicking still a work in progress following first scrimmage 2 months ago
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Heading into to Alabama’s scrimmage, Nick Saban wanted to see improvement out of the Crimson Tide’s special teams units. Asked for his assessment following the workout Saturday, Saban wasn’t completely satisfied
WATCH: Tennessee’s Christian Coleman anchors silver-medal run in 400-meter relay -World News
WATCH: Tennessee’s Christian Coleman anchors silver-medal run in 400-meter relay 2 months ago
@__coleman runs anchor in 400M relay for USA, gets silver as Great Britain scores upset pic.twitter.com/tXuaJzA9A0 — Mike Griffith (@MikeGriffith32) August 12, 2017 Tennessee’s Christian Coleman was en route to holding off Usain Bolt on the anchor leg
Athletics: Sad farewell for injured Bolt as Britain win 4x100m relay -World News
Athletics: Sad farewell for injured Bolt as Britain win 4x100m relay 2 months ago
Usain Bolt's glittering career swansong came crashing to an end when he pulled up on the anchor leg of the world 4x100m relay won by Britain on Saturday.