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Police Body Cameras – LA Police Commission Approves Mandatory Release of Footage


The Los Angeles Police Commission on Tuesday approved an extensive policy that requires police to release to the public video from police body cameras among other recordings captured during incidents.

The proposal initially drafted by Richard Tefank, the executive director of the Police Commission, says that video shot during critical incidents would be released within 45 days. This includes shootings, in-custody deaths, and other prominent events.

This new policy would allow the public to view all video recorded by multiple devices that include police body cameras, cameras in the patrol cars, police facility surveillance video and drones and video in the department’s possession.

According to Tefank, the objectives of this new policy is to “balance: the public’s interest in transparency and police accountability, and the privacy of interests of the individuals depicted in such videos.”

Back in June 2016, the Los Angeles City Council put into motion a plan to equip more than 7,000 patrol officers with police body cameras. This plan provoked a debate on whether the LAPD should release the video footage it gathers. It would help build the public’s trust in law enforcement.

There are also details that would delay the release of the video if the factors were questionable and it would be made by the police chief and two liaisons selected by the commissioners. The proposal also included privacy protections, including a prohibition on releasing video when restricted by law or court order.

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