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LHPD to install body cameras

By Alondra Urizar
La Habra Journal

The La Habra Police Department’s efforts finally paid off.
After actively pursuing wearable body cameras since early 2016, the department acquired a five-year $375,000 agreement with Axon, and LHPD officers are starting to be equipped with them, with a complete implementation of the department by late July or early August.
The idea came after seeing how well Rialto did with their body cameras, the LHPD began watching and considering body cameras.
“We heard about Rialto and how they had some success with the body worn cameras and things have gone well,” Price said. “We just started the process of looking at the cameras, looking at what the pros and cons are, whether or not it’s going to work for us here [in La Habra] or not.”
The La Habra Police Department now joins other law enforcement agencies in Orange County in embracing body cameras such as Anaheim, Fullerton, Huntington Beach, Tustin and Cal State Fullerton.
After testing several body cameras, Price approached the La Habra City Council with their agreement with Axon.
The Council unanimously approved the agreement back in early February 2017.
In early June, the department equipped one smaller patrol team to begin working with the cameras, having the team implementing them in their daily routines. Through the first team, the police department aims to work out any imperfections and make improvements before having the team train the other members of the police department.

The LHPD will also have an Axon representative come the following week and show them how to use the device properly.
Captain Dean Capelletti of the La Habra Police Department knows how important it is to be transparent with the community.
He wants his officers to feel comfortable using the body cameras and realize the benefit they are to both the department and the community of La Habra.
Capelletti said Axiom is going to train them and answer any questions the officers may have.
“We’ll continue with the implementation,” Capelletti said. “It’s totally something new for the officers and we want to make sure that they know how to operate it and feel comfortable with it.”
The agreement for the LHPD comes with three camera improvements, body cameras and storage of digital memory and a warranty, should any accidents happen to the equipment.
In the past, law enforcement agencies have relied on audio recordings and dashboard cameras in patrol cars.
However, with recent calls for accountability of law enforcement agencies, many have chosen to provide their departments with body cameras to provide transparency to the public.
The LHPD has expressed great excitement in implementing the body cameras.
“I’m very excited about putting them out there,” Capelletti said. “I believe we have a nice relationship with our community and I think this is just another area that we can show them we truly are a transparent police department and we have nothing to hide.”

Started in 1995, the La Habra Journal is an independent community news source serving the cities of La Habra and La Habra Heights.