Along with his Taser, baton, and handgun, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Det. David Huelsen has a new tool for meting out justice: a point-and-shoot camera. The Los Angeles Times say the traffic detective is among a handful of cops the Sheriff’s Department has equipped with digital cameras as part of an effort to reduce the number of innocent people jailed after being mistaken for wanted criminals. The reforms come after a Times investigation detailed how authorities had incarcerated people mistaken for wanted criminals more than 1,480 times over five years
Some spent weeks behind bars before the errors were realized. In recent months, other law enforcement agencies around the U..S. have been confronted with the problem, but the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department is emerging as one of the leaders in attempting to solve it. Deputies are using the cameras to take photos of people who get cited but don’t have ID. If a defendant misses court appearances and becomes the subject of an arrest warrant, officials hope having the photos on file will avoid cases of mistaken identity.