Los Angeles has announced the country's biggest police body camera program so far, with plans to buy 7,000 cameras to record every LAPD officer's interaction with the public. The rollout will begin with 800 body cameras funded by $1.5 million in private donations, and Mayor Eric Garcetti says his next budget will provide funds for thousands more, Gizmodo reports. The cameras "are not a panacea, but they are a critical part of the formula," the mayor said at a press conference yesterday. "The trust between a community and its police department can be eroded in a single moment. Trust is built on transparency."
Steve Soboroff, chief of the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners, helped raise money for the cameras. He calls the plan a "very big deal" that could set a precedent for other big-city police forces, the LA Times reports. "There are more and more advantages of having cameras than we've ever thought," he says. The body camera plan has been in the works for at least a year, before a spate of controversial officer-involved deaths in cities including Cleveland, New York, and Ferguson, Mo., CBS Los Angeles reports. Many police forces are still only in the testing phase for body cameras, although Ferguson cops started wearing them in September. (Read more LAPD stories.)