A group of Los Angeles police officers Wednesday began wearing on-body cameras, the first step toward the LAPD's plan to outfit hundreds of officers with the recording devices.
Over the next several months, 30 officers assigned to the downtown skid row area will test different camera models. At the end of the testing period, officials expect to purchase about 600 cameras for use throughout the LAPD.
The push for the cameras has been led by the president of the Police Commission, Steve Soboroff. A successful businessman himself, Soboroff leveraged his name recognition and relationships with some of the city's wealthy patrons to raise more than $1 million to pay for the cameras.
Two of the models being considered are small rectangular devices that officers wear pinned to their uniforms in the center of their chest. The third resembles a small flashlight and is mounted on an officer's shoulder.
Having an audio and video recording of traffic stops, shootings and other encounters is seen as a potentially valuable tool in guarding against officer misconduct and clearing cops when they are falsely accused of wrongdoing.