LAPD’s Long-Awaited Body Cameras will Hit the Streets on Monday

LAPD Body Camera 2Starting Monday, many Los Angeles police officers will hit the streets with new equipment: body cameras.

After nearly two years of fundraising, testing and negotiating policy, Monday’s rollout marks a significant moment for the police department’s long-awaited body camera program. The city plans to purchase and deploy more than 7,000 devices in the coming months, making it the largest in the country to use the cameras on a wide scale.

The first batch of cameras — 860 devices purchased with about $1.5 million in private donations — will be given to officers within the next month, the LAPD’s chief information officer told the Police Commission on Tuesday.

Officers working the LAPD’s Mission Division — which covers San Fernando Valley cities including Sylmar and Panorama City — will get their cameras on Monday, Maggie Goodrich told the commission. Officers assigned to South L.A.’s Newton Division will start using the cameras in mid-September, followed by those working specialized units, such as Central Division traffic and SWAT.

Police use of body cameras has drawn significant attention in recent months amid a heated national debate about policing. Advocates say the cameras will help bring clarity to controversial officer-civilian encounters, guard against officer misconduct and help clear those falsely accused of wrongdoing.

But concerns continue to linger over the LAPD’s use of the new technology, particularly over who will get to see the videos and when.

The LAPD policy — approved by the Police Commission’s 3-1 vote in April — allows officers to review the footage before writing reports or giving statements to internal investigators. But the LAPD has said it does not plan on publicly releasing the recordings unless they are part of a criminal or civil court proceeding.

Critics, including the Southern California chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, said that giving officers but not the public a chance to look at the footage undermined the accountability that the cameras are intended to bring.

The ACLU reiterated its stance Monday in a letter sent to the Police Commission, in which the organization said it still opposed the use of the cameras under the approved policy because it “undercut public trust that the cameras should be building.”

Police Commissioner Robert Saltzman expressed similar concerns at Tuesday’s meeting. Saltzman, who voted against the policy this spring, peppered department officials with questions over when officers would get to see the footage and why the public wouldn’t be able to.

“The combination of those two policies, to me, is quite problematic,” he said.

At the end of the hearing, however, Saltzman said that although he had questions over the policy, he believed the cameras were “a great idea.”

“This is a big deal,” he said.



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San Bernardino Moves to Outsource Fire Department

San Bernardino Fire Station 10The outsourcing of a 137-year-old Fire Department and a proposed $143-per-year tax on parcel owners is part of the price for keeping this bankrupt city from “catastrophe,” the City Council decided on a 4-3 vote Monday.

The move follows the advice of several sets of consultants — those responsible for a post-bankruptcy plan that included outsourcing and new revenues that the council approved 6-1, and firefighting experts — but came against heavy opposition from residents.

City officials’ advocacy of the plan began by saying the city’s ability to continue in bankruptcy court, while continuing as a city, was dependent on moving forward.

The council’s vote authorizes city staffers to begin negotiating with the county and County Fire District over the terms of the annexation, with another City Council vote coming to approve those.

That could take 60 days, City Manager Allen Parker said.

If the proposal gets to the Local Agency Formation Commission in 60 days, there’s no guarantee it will be approved by July 2016, possibly meaning it couldn’t happen until the next fiscal year began in July 2017, according to Kathleen Rollings-McDonald, executive officer of that county agency.

LAFCO, as the commission is known, will have to study the proposal, hold public meetings and make decisions on it.

A citizen vote is not required, but it could be if enough people formally protest to LAFCO.

As proposed, firefighting responsibility would go to the county fire department, which operates 56 fire stations for unincorporated areas of the county and seven incorporated cities including Fontana, which has a population only 10,000 smaller than San Bernardino’s 213,000.

The county department is based in San Bernardino and would provide fire coverage using county stations on the city’s borders in Muscoy and Devore, said County Fire Chief Mark Hartwig. Ten city fire stations would remain open, meaning that the two that stopped handling cars because of budget and staffing issues — Station 223 on Medical Center Drive and Station 230 on Arrowhead Avenue — would remain closed.

The county would have 41 firefighters on duty at all times, as opposed to 38 at a time that the city now fields.

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Studio City Officer Involved Shooting

LAPD Metro officers at scene of officer involved shooting that left suspect dead. Photo by SCMA member Chester Brown, K6CRB

LAPD Metro officers at scene of officer involved shooting that left suspect dead. Photo by SCMA member Chester Brown, K6CRB

STUDIO CITY, LOS ANGELES (KABC) — A suspect was killed following an officer-involved shooting at Ventura and Laurel Canyon boulevards in Studio City on Friday.

Los Angeles police were initially called at about 3:20 p.m. about a man with a gun. An officer-involved shooting occurred and the suspect was hit, police said.

August Sargenti, who owns a hat shop in the area, said people started running when the man began firing shots. Police could not confirm if the suspect fired shots, but a handgun was found on the suspect.

“Then people started walking by the guy as if nothing was going on. I don’t think people realized he had a gun. He was hiding it between his knees. Women, kids, people with strollers were going by this guy. It was really terrifying,” Sargenti said.

When police arrived, the man appeared to disregard commands from police to drop his weapon, Sargenti said.

“He’s not listening to anyone. It looked like a standoff. Then that guy started moving his arm and that was it. I heard two more shots,” he added.

Witness video showed the man raising his gun and police opening fire. Three shots could be heard.

No officers were injured. A bomb squad later responded to the scene.

The suspect’s body could be seen slumped over a flower bed in front of a bank near several bags for hours after the shooting. A remote-control robot blew up at least two items found near the body. By 5:45 p.m., all the items had been rendered safe. No explosives were found.

There was no indication of a bank robbery, FBI officials said.

The identity of the officer will not be released until the police chief has had time to review the case, LAPD Det. Meghan Aguilar said.

Ventura Boulevard was closed between Laurel Canyon Boulevard and Whitsett Avenue. Southbound lanes on Laurel Canyon Boulevard was shut down south of Moorpark Street. The area was expected to be shut down for at least 10 hours, Aguilar said.

Photo by SCMA member Chester Brown, K6CRB

Photo by SCMA member Chester Brown, K6CRB



Photo Source: SCMA member Chester Brown, K6CRB

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Bankruptcy Judge: San Bernardino May Outsource Fire Department

SBFD_PatchNothing in the city charter prevents San Bernardino from outsourcing its Fire Department, a federal bankruptcy judge ruled Wednesday in a blow to the fire union that its attorneys immediately said they would appeal.

The ruling clears the way for the city’s plans to replace city firefighters — plans that have been underway for months with the San Bernardino County Fire Department and the private firm Centerra submitting bids to provide fire service, and which the city counted on to save $7 million to $10 million a year in itsbankruptcy exit plan filed in May.

It’s a limited ruling, because U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Meredith Jury said attorneys may be able to convince her later that state law requires the city to go through a formal “meet and confer” process with union officials before outsourcing, but it clearly — and unsurprisingly — went against the union, said fire union attorney Corey Glave.

“This is not unexpected,” Glave told the judge after she gave a tentative ruling and invited him to argue against it. “This has been an anti-labor case from the beginning and it continues as such.”

Jury responded: “I don’t buy that, but go ahead.”

There are several parts of the city charter that the fire union alleges requires the city to have a Fire Department composed of city employees.

The union was backed up by a city attorney’s opinion from 1991, when James F. Penman was in office, advising that the charter did not permit outsourcing the police or fire departments. That was countered by an opinion current City Attorney Gary Saenz wrote after the outsourcing move had already begun, asserting the opposite.

Saenz’s extremely recent opinion shouldn’t be a factor, Jury said, and even Penman’s opinion written before the current controversy was more like a lawyer’s advice to a client than a neutral finding such as an attorney general’s opinion, she also said.

“Quite frankly, almost none,” she said of the influence city attorney opinions had on her decision. “I know that case law says I’m to give them (city attorney opinions) weight unless they’re ‘clearly erroneous.’ I guess I think it’s a flawed analysis of the law (to say the charter prohibits outsourcing), and if that makes it clearly erroneous, if that’s the words I’m supposed to say, I find it clearly erroneous.”

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New Electric Motorcycles Patrolling the Streets of Burbank

Burbank police have added a new electric motorcycle to its patrol fleet. Not only does the Zero motorcycle look different, it sounds different.

“Our Burbank Water and Power had some grant money, some funds for alternate-fuel vehicles,” Burbank Police Sgt. Kerry Schilf said. “We were able to fortunately purchase two motorcycles through a grant, and now we’re in a one-year pilot program and we’re testing them.”

The Zeros sit alongside Burbank’s usual BMW patrol bikes and are charged overnight to be ready for duty. So far, they’re a good fit for the city’s 18 square miles. Electric range varies, but could be anywhere from 100 to 200 miles.

The department’s two Zero DS models are identical to the ones available to the public at a suggested retail price starting at about $12,000 . The DS stands for “dual sport,” which means they’re also off-road capable for patrolling the city’s hills.

They’ve also turned out to be a conversation starter with members of the public.

“When people see us on it, they don’t know what to think,” said Officer Ryan Murphy, one of the department’s motorcycle officers who is using the new electric bikes. “The thing that’s neat about it is that we’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback with the bike, so that’s always a good thing.”

The Zero DS models that Burbank police have are just like the ones available to the public. The department had to modify them for police use with lights and sirens, but they didn’t want to add too much equipment in order to keep them lightweight. They weigh just more than half of what the big BMW’s do, and the idea is to keep them that way for both efficiency and performance.

The Zero can get moving much more quickly than a regular motorcycle because there’s no engine to start or clutch to engage. Once the key is on, they can accelerate instantly from a standstill

So far, about halfway through a one-year evaluation, the electric cop bikes are coming through with flying colors.

“It’s just a hoot to ride. It’s very economical, and it leaves less of a carbon footprint, which is just outstanding,” noted Sgt. Schilf.

So if you are in Burbank and see these odd police bikes out on patrol, go ahead and give them a wave or a thumbs up. But keep in mind, they are the real deal. So if you see the colored lights on, yes, you still need to pull over.

Source:   (Dave Kunz)


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KCRW Studio Tour – June 2015


SCMA member Steve Herbert (LA-187, K6CRW) led fellow members on a tour of his workplace, radio station KCRW. Steve has worked here for 35 years and is the chief engineer for the station.

Members were shown all areas of the station including the studio spaces, equipment rooms and the massive KCRW music collection.

For more photos, please see the KCRW Studio Tour page.

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KTLA Newscopter Pilot & Reporter Tim Lynn

KTLA Helicopter News Pilot/Reporter Tim Lynn’s presentation about his career including highlights from pursuits, accidents, forest fires, and shootings. He also talks about becoming the news when smoke was billowing out of his helicopter and he had to make an emergency landing in Hollywood.

Found this video on YouTube and thought I’d post it here to share with the group. A lot of us follow Tim on Twitter and consider him one of the best and most professional pilot/reporters around.

Tim’s presentation was part of the celebrity lecture series at the Western Museum of Flight in Torrance, CA.

Thanks to Peninsula Seniors volunteers Betty and Jarel Wheaton in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. They have produced over 250 one hour documentaries for local cable channels and the internet. Key topics include aviation history, car shows, classic cars, museums, general interest, and experiences from our veterans.  Check out their YouTube channel at:


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KTLA Telecopter First Live Broadcast

“Introducing Telecopter 1″

In 1958 KTLA Channel 5 in Los Angeles became the first station to broadcast live video from a helicopter, It was the birth of the Telecopter and made Channel 5 the place for breaking news.

Thanks to National Helicopter Service who posted this video on their Facebook page.


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Bell Gardens Opts Out of County Emergency System

Bell Gardens PoliceBell Gardens has joined a growing list of municipalities opting to not buy into a new countywide emergency radio network being built under a plan approved by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

“As more and more cities withdrew their support of the system, the projected operating cost, which will be shared by the public agencies participating, continued to grow to a point that LA-RICS officials have had difficulty projecting what the eventual cost will be for cities like Bell Gardens,” City Manager Phil Wagner told EGP in an email.

It could be cost prohibitive for smaller cities like Bell Gardens, Wagner explained.

He was referring to plans to build a network of radio towers to allow first-responders from dozens of agencies to communicate quickly in an emergency.

The plan originally called for building 177 towers at a cost of roughly a half-million dollars each, paid for using $154 million in federal funding earmarked for the Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communications System, or LA-RICS.

Most towers were proposed near county fire stations, prompting firefighters and residents to complain that radio emissions from the towers would pose a health hazard.

Supervisors in March voted to delay construction of the towers to do more outreach, but last week, seeking to balance public safety with health and aesthetic concerns raised by firefighters and homeowners, they approved a scaled-back network with about 60 sites, none of which are near county fire stations. Twenty-nine are county-controlled properties that already have transmitters on site, including 20 Sheriff’s Department facilities, four county hospitals or rehabilitation facilities and the county Fire Department’s command and control site. Another 16 are sites owned by various cities including the Bell Gardens Police Department, which has now decided against building a tower at the station.

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SCMA Member Photos of Van Nuys Barricaded Suspect

An SCMA member who shall remain anonymous sent in the following photos of the perimeter formed around a Van Nuys neighborhood. Officers received reports of a man with a gun. When they arrived they were greeted with a possible 5150 (Mentally Ill) subject armed with a handgun. His family members were not home at the time and were able to provide LAPD SWAT information as to the subjects state of mind.

Before this incident the subject was on a methamphetamine binge and had been served with a restraining order by his girlfriend. The suspect was allegedly pointing a handgun at children prior to police arriving.

Once officers and SWAT were on scene, “a couple of random shots” were fired by the suspect, but “police did not fire back,” said Sgt. Vincent Aguirre, an LAPD spokesman.

The unidentified man surrendered and walked out around 5:45 p.m., Aguirre said.

Some evacuations were ordered, police said. No injuries have been reported.

Here are some of the pictures, provided by an anonymous SCMA member.

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