LAPD body-cam plan causes 'sticker shock' for City Council

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Tuesday, April 19, 2016
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A program to outfit LAPD officers with body cameras has been delayed because of concerns over its $57 million cost.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A plan to make the Los Angeles Police Department the largest law enforcement agency in the country to outfit officers with body cameras has hit a snag, after the City Council expressed "sticker shock" over the project's cost.

The price tag for the LAPD's contract with TASER International for 7,000 police body cameras is $57.6 million over five years.

Police Chief Charlie Beck said that includes a body camera, cell phone and Taser for each officer, as well as storage fees and two tech upgrades. The contract also contains a "most favored nation" clause, which says if another department gets a better deal with the company in the future, TASER will refund the difference to LAPD.

The amount appeared to catch council members by surprise.

"A lot of my colleagues in the council said it was sticker shock," said City Councilman Mitch Englander.

After that shock was expressed, Englander proposed starting the bidding process again to ensure it was done correctly. Englander, who supports the program, hasn't yet formally submitted a motion to start the bidding again, saying the political will may already be shifting in favor of the contract.

Beck said the cameras will be an invaluable tool for officers.

"It increases public trust, it improves our ability to collect evidence in crucial incidents, it adds a level of accountability that is unparalleled," Beck said.

Mayor Eric Garcetti said he shares the council's goal to get a good deal on the body cams, but he remains confident that the contract was done correctly.