The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) will soon deploy to its officers more than 3,000 Tasers that can communicate wirelessly with on-body cameras. The device purchased, called the Taser X26P Smart Weapon, can automatically power on a police officer’s body camera when the Taser’s safety is switched off.
Bluetooth connectivity between weapon and camera could reduce an incident like the Michael Brown shooting that occurred in Ferguson, Mo., from a drawn-out controversy to a matter-of-fact review of video footage that shows what happened.
The weapons can also record the date, time, duration of fire, whether the weapon struck a suspect, and suspect’s exposure to electrical current. LAPD is among a growing percentage of police agencies in the nation to adopt on-body cameras, growing the program out of a pilot launched in early 2014 that received favorable reviews internally. Officers in Los Angeles reported that the presence of a camera prevented situations from escalating when dealing with the public, a common claim among police who have used body cameras.
In December, the LAPD reported plans to equip 7,000 street officers with body cameras.
"The Los Angeles Police Department is committed to implementing safety measures to reduce the risk of injuries to both our officers and the members of our community, while improving trust within our communities," Police Chief Charlie Beck said in a statement. "In addition to these new Taser deployments, we plan to issue a body-worn camera and a Taser device to every officer. It is our goal to make these important tools available to every front-line officer over the next few years."