The images captured on police dash cams have become part of popular culture. From car chases to controversial arrests, the cameras give an unblinking perspective on law enforcement.
The LAPD is one of the largest police departments in the country to embrace the technology.
"In-car video is now a reality," said Police Chief Charlie Beck. At a news conference today at the LAPD's 77th Street Division, Beck was joined by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and other officials in announcing the launch of the $5 million program.
"It is a mechanism for transparency, it's a mechanism for gathering evidence in criminal cases, it builds public trust within the police department," Beck said.
The in-car systems include several cameras that record video and audio onto a hard drive. The cameras will be installed in patrol cars in the LAPD's south bureau, which encompasses much of South Los Angeles.
"The reason why we're picking south and central is because these are the two areas that are the most active in terms of incidents," Villaraigosa said.
Police Commissioner John Mack said he hopes in-car video could be used to resolve disputes between the community and the police.
"The installation of this system has been a very top priority," Mack said. "These cameras can represent a very important tool in helping to gather the facts. The cameras don't lie. People do."
Equipping 300 cars at a cost of $5 million is only the first phase of the project. Equipping the rest of the LAPD's 1,600 patrols cars would cost $20 million.