In the wake of the MacArthur Park melee, LAPD Chief William J. Bratton has ordered a police camera crew to follow officers through major incidents, recording their actions from the early roll call to the after-incident report. “Every 15 minutes or 30 minutes, the incident commander will narrate what is occurring at the event,” said Deputy Chief Mike Hillman, the new head of the department’s critical-incident training bureau, who developed the idea. Officials hope the camera will provide a solid record of what happened – and keep officers on their best behavior, reports the Los Angeles Times.
During the May 1 immigration rally at the park, TV cameras recorded officers swinging batons and firing less-than-lethal weapons at protesters and journalists. Bratton has expressed concerns over the police actions and demoted two commanders who oversaw the incident. The LAPD is no stranger to videotaping, but usually officers didn’t know they were being recorded. The new strategy is part of a larger cultural shift for officers. In the age of cellphone cameras, LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith said he tells officers that “each and every action you take on the streets is likely to be on video.”