Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs Quotes Gene Ramirez on Body Worn Cameras
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, in the Deputy Sheriffs blog, reports that they are currently evaluating the potential for a Body Worn Camera program. In a post emailed to subscribers in mid-October, Sean Van Leeuwen, vice president of Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, the collective bargaining agent which represents more than 8,200 deputy sheriffs and district attorney investigators working in Los Angeles County, writes, "We expect video recordings will increase deputy sheriffs' effectiveness by documenting crimes and refuting frivolous claims of police misconduct. Time and again, we have seen that some of the best evidence against made-up tales of law enforcement abuse is the complete, unedited video footage of an incident captured in its entirety and with proper context."
The post quotes Manning & Kass founding partner and Governmental Entity Liability Team leader, Eugene P. Ramirez, who wrote in a report for the United States Bureau of Justice Assistance that, "There is a legitimate concern that local prosecutors will demand that all criminal cases filed have an accompanying video along with the other hard evidence." Mr. Ramirez added, "In the long run, the use of BWCs will prove to be a valuable tool for both law enforcement and the local community. However, it is just one tool among many and should not be thought to be the ultimate factor in judging the actions of officers. BWCs only provide one view of an incident. An officer will still have to explain his/her actions and then a determination must be made whether the officer's decision was reasonable based on the circumstances presented to the officer."
ALADS stated that, in agreement with Mr. Ramirez, they "want deputy sheriffs to be able to explain their actions with all of the relevant information at hand, including the footage from their BWC." Mr. Van Leeuwen concludes, "Anything less is a disservice to the truth."
To read Mr. Ramirez's full Body Worn Camera report, click here.