LOS ANGELES (AP) — A $58 million plan to equip nearly every Los Angeles police officer with body cameras by the end of the year has been delayed by concerns over the price tag.
Mayor Eric Garcetti had pledged to have the cameras on thousands of officers by the end of 2016. But the department doesn't expect to outfit 7,000 officers until the fall of 2017 at the earliest, the Los Angeles Times reported, (http://lat.ms/1XBkECF ).
Councilman Mitch Englander told the newspaper that he wants the department to start the bidding process over and plans to introduce a formal proposal next week.
"This is too big to get wrong," said Erlander, who heads the council's public safety committee. "It's more important that we get it right and not just do it quickly."
Board of Police Commissioner Steve Soboroff, a longtime advocate of the cameras, said city lawmakers are "horribly underestimating the ramifications" of delaying the program for what could be years.
"This is an unequivocal disaster for public safety in Los Angeles," Soboroff said.
City Hall has been scrutinizing the camera plan over the costs, with one council member saying he was experiencing "sticker shock" over the price tag of $57.6 million over five years.
Technology companies complained that they were unfairly left out the police department's selection process, which in part relied on a separate search for body cameras for a much smaller nearby sheriff's department.
Garcetti said through a spokesman that he hoped the council would act as quickly as possible.
The police department has about 860 cameras, bought through private donations.
Last year, the department negotiated a contract with Scottsdale, Arizona-based Taser International to provide thousands more, as well as replacement equipment, digital storage of the recordings and thousands of Tasers.
Information from: Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com/