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LAPD Chief Beck: Body-worn cameras are crucial for police accountability

To the editor: Today the City Council will vote on funding to equip the entire patrol force of the Los Angeles Police Department with body-worn cameras. This will not only make the LAPD the largest user of body-worn video in our nation, it will signal our city's commitment to police accountability, cited in Joe Domanick's Op-Ed article as an issue facing the department. ("Charlie Beck 'needs to be a chief for his time' amid volatile issue of police shootings," Opinion, Dec. 13)

Policing is one of the most difficult and dangerous professions in our society, and with that comes a tremendous amount of power and authority that is exercised in a very public way. The implementation of these cameras allows a window into the use of that power and authority that will assist in ensuring accountability and also improve behavior on both sides of the camera lens.

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These benefits come at a significant cost at a time when the city's budget is being pulled and taxed in many directions, all of them of great value and importance. But none of them are more important than safeguarding the responsible use of government's ultimate authority: the ability of the police to take away a person's life, liberty or property.

We urge the City Council to create an example for all American law enforcement by funding body-worn video without delay.

Charlie Beck and Matt Johnson, Los Angeles

Beck is chief of the LAPD; Johnson is president of the Los Angeles Police Commission.

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