Photos courtesy of the LBPD.
The Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) will roll out its body camera pilot program tomorrow, they announced today, after the program’s initial city council approval last January, with a start time originally slated for March.
The approximately 11-month wait has come to an end: cameras will be issued to about 40 patrol officers and supervisors in the West Patrol Division, according to the LBPD.
“Our goal with the body worn camera program is to help enhance community trust and underscore law enforcement legitimacy and accountability,” said LBPD Police Chief Robert Luna in a statement. “The use of this video technology can provide additional documentation of interactions between the community and the officers serving it.”
In January, Luna explained that the pilot program would focus on the west side because it’s an area where citizen complaints against the LBPD, police use of force and officer injuries are historically high.
He said that the department’s research showed those complaints shrunk when officers wore cameras by between 60-80 percent. However, he cautioned that while cameras may become a useful tool, they won’t solve all the issues involving officers' interactions with residents.
The approval of the pilot program awards a contract to Texas-based Dell Marketing LP, to outfit 40-50 officers servicing the West Division with body cameras as well as provide the LBPD with the necessary data storage infrastructure, system support and officer training to execute it. The original proposal that was pulled from the council’s agenda last November called for the program to outfit 100 officers with body cameras. The reason for the reduction in scope of the pilot program was not immediately clear.
Luna previously cautioned that while cameras may become a useful tool, they won’t solve all the issues involving officers' interactions with residents.
“The body-worn camera is a tool, it’s not the silver bullet,” said Luna in January. “One of the things that we have learned throughout our research is body-worn cameras are a tool to help us enhance community trust and underscore law enforcement legitimacy and accountability by using video to better document police interactions with our community.”