In a move that will hopefully set the precedent for other major American cities, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced earlier this week that he will be equipping body cameras on every single police officer in the city. While Garcetti’s plan is to purchase 7,000 cameras, the first wave will consist of 800 cameras used in areas with high crime rates and police activity. $1.5 million in private funds has been raised for the initiative, with Garcetti’s budget to include funding for the rest of the 7,000 cameras to be used citywide.
The initiative is the first step in assuring police are held accountable for their actions and to bring transparency to those who “serve the law.” Garcetti elaborated further during his announcement, stating:
Out on the street, things aren’t always clear cut. These cameras will help law enforcement and the public alike find the truth — and truth is essential to the trust between the LAPD and the community, which has been a key factor in lowering crime to record lows.
It’s unfortunate that it took the in flux of high-profile cases of police brutality this year to push the button, but the announcement is a step in the right direction for a safer future. There’s the old adage “Who watches the watchmen?” If the initiative is successful and becomes the standard for all American cops, the answer will be everybody.