24 Sep 2014
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department just announced that they will be testing body cameras on dozens of deputies at selected stations as part of a six-month pilot program.
The Sheriff’s spokesperson says that 96 cameras are being tested and that deputies in the Antelope Valley and harbor region have already been wearing them. The LAPD has been testing cameras on 30 officers working on foot patrols in Downtown Los Angeles for a nine-month period with plans on rolling out hundreds more next year.
As you may recall, the U.S. Justice Department found that the Antelope Valley Sheriff’s Deputies had been discriminating against blacks and Latinos with unconstitutional stops, searches and seizures and by using excessive force. The use of these body cameras, it is presumed, is to correct this problem, repair the image of the Sheriff’s Department, and to make sure that there is video evidence to support the claims of either the law enforcement officer or the civilian.
Many in the public have been wandering why it has taken so long for law enforcement to start instituting body cameras in this day in age. They cite the fact that many officers wear audio recording equipment and an increasing number of police vehicles have on-board dash cameras to record traffic stops and investigations. A common argument has been that if all officers wore body cameras, we would have first-hand evidence of what really transpired during an incident or an alleged civil rights violation.
You might be asking yourself, what does this mean to me? Well, it means that you should start paying a little more attention to your actions and words if stopped by law enforcement. It means that soon are the days where there is no longer a “he said, she said” issue at the heart of a criminal case, but instead actual video footage of someone’s words, admissions, physical altercations and the like.
It can also mean that law enforcement personnel must now watch their actions more closely and be careful with what they say to people and how they handle their investigation and initial contact. For example, cameras can make it easier to show the officer did not read you your Miranda warnings or prove that you were wrongfully accused.
If you have questions regarding what to do if stopped by the cops or if you have been arrested and are facing a criminal charge in Los Angeles, contact attorney Ross Erlich today for a free consultation. Attorney Ross Erlich handles all felonies and misdemeanors in California and can properly advise you on how best to resolve the matter.