Los Angeles Police Commission President Steve Soboroff, who recently championed a push for LAPD officers to wear on-body cameras, said today he was about $600,000 into a $1 million fundraising effort to bankroll the proposal.
Soboroff said the $1 million would buy as many as 500 cameras and "kick- start a massive process" for a pilot program that would have taken "years and years" to get off the ground using just city and public funds.
The on-body cameras would add to an existing program that incorporates patrol car cameras into Los Angeles Police Department practices.
The latest private donation for the on-body cameras was a $250,000 contribution from the Dodgers, according to Soboroff.
He said that thanks to the donation, he hoped to beat his previous deadline for the effort, shortening the 12 months to nine.
"If somebody can have a baby in nine months, we should be able to have cameras in nine. They're both miracles," he said.
Soboroff made waves at his first commission meeting last month when he announced that one of his first tasks was to bring on-body cameras to the LAPD within 18 months. A week later, he shortened that deadline to 12 months.
Dodger spokesman Steve Brener confirmed the team had made a donation to the Los Angeles Police Foundation for the purchase of the cameras, but he declined to confirm the amount.
Sports executive and philanthropist Casey Wasserman also donated $250,000, while former Mayor Richard Riordan and entertainment executive Jeffrey Katzenberg donated "substantial" amounts, according to Soboroff.
"This is a once-in-a-generation possibility for major transformation for minor dollars," Soboroff said. "I felt like I could go to the private sector and tell this story, that there will be people who care enough and will want to be part of history. That indeed happened."
As early as next week, the department is expected to borrow as many 50 cameras from a vendor to conduct an initial study of the proposed program.
The development of the program would include working with the police union and the American Civil Liberties Union, Soboroff said.
"The purpose of these cameras is to help people on both sides of the camera -- for the protection of the officers and for protection of the public," he said. "These can go a long way in reducing incidents and complaints."