After months of testing body cameras by different companies, the LAPD announced on Tuesday that it would be teaming up with Taser to provide body cameras for each officer.
There has been a national push for body cameras after a spate of African Americans across the country were killed or brutalized by police over the summer, with many of them caught on tape.
While the LAPD has not drafted a policy for the use of body cameras nor has the department signed a contract with Taser to order the equipment, the announcement that the department has settled on a contractor is proof that the LAPD is interested in moving forward with the new technologies.
The decision comes after months of testing different types of body cameras from different companies and officially narrowing the choices down to Taser and Coban Technologies Inc.
The LAPD’s chief information officer and a department technology expert described Taser as being the “absolutely preferred vendor” for the officers who tested the equipment.
Officials with the department said Taser’s equipment did the best job of eliminating “wind noise” and staying attached to the officers’ uniforms.
The department said there are areas were the cameras could use some work but it definitely out-performed other options.
“It’s not an absolutely perfect solution or a silver bullet by all means,” said LAPD CIO Maggie Goodrich. “But certainly they were the clear winner.”
Other advantages to the Taser product were its ability to perform well in low light, higher battery life and impressive storage capabilities.
For LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, the only thing more exciting than the body camera features is the fact that the department is coming much closer to entering a new age of law enforcement.
Beck described the possibility of implementing police body cameras in the department as “the future of policing.”
Greater implications of the LAPD’s drive for police body camera is the hope that it will encourage other departments, like the NYPD, to follow suit.
Funding for the LAPD’s body cameras will come from private investors and donations. The department has already raised more than $1 million to put towards investing in the body cameras.