The Los Angeles Police Department has ordered some Tasers with built-in cameras that can actually record if the Taser is used. This comes right after the LAPD announced that it intended to buy around 8,000 body cameras just recently.
The department has now placed an order for 3,000 Taser X26P smart weapons. When it is connected by Bluetooth, the Taser’s camera will store footage and the Taser itself will be able to keep a log of its use. The log can include data such as the time it was fired, if the wires did make contact. The camera itself is designed not to start recording until the Taser’s safety is switched off, according to Reuters.
While things that take place on the street between the police and citizens are not always clear, this new Taser with a camera may just be able to offer a clearer picture of what’s going on. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, when he introduced the body camera program in December, said that he hoped the cameras would “help law enforcement and the public alike find the truth.”
Skeptics of this new weaponry for the LAPD would argue that truth, when connected to video footage of police, is not always what it seems. Recently, the deaths of Eric Garner and Tamir Rice were both separate incidents involving the police and they were also filmed. However, the involved officers did not get indicted. Would the Michael Brown case of Ferguson, Missouri have been different if there were clearer footage?
The government seems to think that footage taken by a camera may make all the difference as they will be funding this new initiative with a $263 million federal funding plan to distribute 50,000 cameras to departments. The rest of the needed budget should come from local state and private funding.