Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton has an ambitious plan to place video cameras in police cars, reports the Los Angeles Times. It is a costly idea that might help the department emerge from its five-year monitoring by the federal government. Bratton told the Times that he was already selling the idea – and its $25-million price tag – to city officials not just as a reform in police procedures but as a cost-savings tool. “Is the city going to spend money to save money? That is how I envision it,” he said. “Because you will save all this money on liability lawsuits.”
It is a decade since the Christopher Commission recommended that Los Angeles put cameras in cars after the Rodney G. King beating. While police officials in the past were wary, the police union supports the idea, as do community activists and some city leaders. City Councilman Jack Weiss, head of the Public Safety Committee, said his colleagues may be swayed by federal monitor Michael Cherkasky’s urging that the LAPD install cameras to ensure compliance with the consent decree. Hundreds of departments use video cameras in cars; the LAPD has lagged far behind.