The Los Angeles Police Commission approved a policy Tuesday that set new parameters on the LAPD’s use of facial recognition technology, but stopped far short of the outright ban sought by many city activists.
The move followed promises by the commission to review the Los Angeles Police Department’s use of photo-comparison software in September, after The Times reported that officers had used the technology — contrary to department claims — more than 30,000 times since 2009.
The new policy restricts LAPD detectives and other trained officers to using a single software platform operated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which only uses mugshots and is far less expansive than some third-party search platforms. It also mandates new measures for tracking the Police Department’s use of the county system and its outcomes in the crime fight.
Commissioners and top police executives praised the policy as a step in the right direction, saying it struck the right balance between protecting people’s civil liberties and giving cops the tools they need to solve and reduce crime — which is on the rise. They called on the LAPD’s inspector general to assess the program’s “efficacy” moving forward and promised to revisit the policy if such reviews showed that it is flawed or ineffective.
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