Los Angeles Police Department officers begin wearing body cameras


LAPD officer Jim Stover is one of about 30 officers testing out three new different types of cameras, ranging in price from $400 to $800. The cameras are worn on belts, collars and sunglasses.

"I don't mind the technology, it makes everything a lot easier, especially for court," said Stover. "There's nothing that actually solidifies a case more than the video."

The small cameras are new policing tools that came earlier than expected, thanks to large donations by some of L.A's' rich and famous.

Director Steven Spielberg, DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, former mayor Richard Riordan, media giant Casey Wasserman and the Los Angeles Dodgers were among 25 donors who helped fund the camera effort.

"We completed in 58 days, with the Dodgers, with Occidental Petroleum, with Tony Pritzker, with Casey Wasserman, with Katzenberg, Steven Spielberg and all the others," said Police Commission President Steve Soboroff.

The goal was to raise $1 million in nine months, but nearly $1.3 million came in over just two months.

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck says he believes the cameras will change policing.

"I would say yes, this is the future of law enforcement," said Beck. "When you see things they just make perfect sense, and this makes perfect sense."

They expect 600 cameras will be worn by officers on the streets as soon as this summer.

Los Angeles City Councilman Mitchell Englander says the new tools are not only about protecting officers, but also about protecting the people they have contact with and saving taxpayers millions of dollars in litigation.

"The officers will know they're being videotaped, the general public will know they're being videotaped," said Englander. "Officers have to assume they're being videotaped all the time anyway, but they're never sure. Now they're gonna know for sure that they're on camera, they're on tape, it's going to be stored, they can't delete it, they can't edit it, and their supervisors can look at it at a moment's notice."

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