LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) –Los Angeles Police Department officers tampered with voice recording equipment in dozens of patrol cars to prevent their conversations from being monitored while on duty, according to a report on Tuesday.
The Los Angeles Times reported that LAPD investigators found that about half of the 80 or so cars in a southern LA patrol division were lacking antennas, which helps capture what officers are saying in the field. . At least 10 other vehicles in neighboring divisions were also tampered with, the Times reported.
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The cameras, which can be activated manually or activated automatically whenever an officer activates the car’s emergency lights and sirens, are used to record traffic stops and other encounters that occur in front of the vehicle. .
LAPD chief Charlie Beck and other senior officials learned of the issue last summer, but chose not to investigate the officers responsible, according to the Times. Instead, officers are now required to check that the equipment is working every shift.
Beck said there had been no deliberate attempt to keep the commission in the dark, The Times reported.
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Members of the Police Commission, which oversees the department, were not made aware of the problem until months later, according to the Times.
Police Commission Chairman Steve Soboroff told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO that the officers’ actions did not necessarily indicate they wanted to hide something.
“I think it was more of a statement, you know, ‘Hey, there’s some things here that we’d rather not like or like’, or they weren’t clear on the rules,” Soboroff said.
Soboroff added that the recording devices were put in place to protect both officers and members of the public, and that it is “unacceptable” for officers to disconnect them.
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