Facial Recognition Body Cams a Valuable Tool, Says Some Cops

FEBRUARY 18: A Los Angeles police officer wear an AXON body camera during the Immigrants Make America Great March to protest actions being taken by the Trump administration on February 18, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. Protesters are calling for an end to stepped up ICE raids and deportations, and that health care be provided for documented and undocumented people. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

Many are divided over the latest body cam technology that would provide auto facial recognition capabilities. The camera would have the ability to scan a photo uploaded to the device, identify a few characteristics (ex. distance between one's eyes), run the photo through other databases (Mugshot, DMV) and then inform the authorities of that particular persons identity. The union representing LAPD officers has come out against a state bill that would limit facial recognition technology. Detective Lou Turriaga is a director with the LA Police Protective League, he says it would be ridiculous to take away the possibility of using the technology.

"Facial recognition can be a valuable tool for law enforcement. It helps us identify violent serious felons as well as identifying missing persons, children who have been abducted," Turriaga told Kris Ankarlo of KFI News.

Some lawmakers alongside protesters are seeking to push a statewide ban on the devices.

The bill has already passed in the state assembly and is now working its way through the senate. Supporters of the bill say the technology has a strong potential to misidentify people and isn't ready to be rolled out. Supporters also say the technology may violate the U.S. Constitution.

“People don’t expect to have their identity, their location, and who they associate with logged every time they step outside and walk down the street,” said Matt Cagle, attorney for the Northern California chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. “That’s the kind of world that automated face surveillance would usher in.”

Last month in May, San Francisco was the first city in the nation banning cops from using body cams. Oakland and Berkeley are considering following SF's lead.

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