Body-Worn Camera: FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

A body-worn camera (BWC) is a video and audio recording device worn by a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (Department) member, which allows an event to be recorded and saved as a digital file. BWCs can be highly effective tools, providing an unalterable audio and visual record of interactions that capture empirical evidence in the event of a crime, police-public interaction, or use-of-force incident.

Law enforcement agencies across the United States and throughout the world are using body-worn cameras (BWCs) as a promising tool to improve evidentiary outcomes, and enhance the safety of, and improve interactions between officers and the public. BWCs also are proving to be an important tool to assist broader law enforcement, problem-solving, and community engagement strategies within jurisdictions.

Department personnel shall activate their body-worn camera (BWC) prior to initiating, or upon arrival at, any enforcement or investigative contact involving a member of the public, including all:

  • Vehicle stops;
  • Pedestrian stops (including self-initiated consensual encounters);
  • Calls for service
  • Code-3 responses, including vehicle pursuits;
  • Foot pursuits;
  • Searches;
  • Arrests;
  • Uses of force, including any transportation of the subject;
  • In-custody transports of persons who are uncooperative, belligerent, or threatening;
  • Suspect, victim, and witness interviews; and/or
  • Any encounter with a member of the public who is or becomes uncooperative, belligerent, or otherwise hostile.

Department personnel may activate their BWC for the following reasons:

  • Transportation of a member of the public; and/or
  • Other investigative or enforcement activities where, in the Department member’s judgement, a video recording would assist in the investigation or prosecution of a crime or when a recording of an encounter would assist in documenting the incident for later investigation or review.

Department members may stop a recording of the body worn camera (BWC) during a required activation period with a member of the public when:

  • A witness or victim refuses to provide a recorded statement and the encounter is non-confrontational;
  • In the Department member’s judgment, a recording would interfere with their ability to conduct an investigation, or may be inappropriate, because of the victim or witness’ physical condition, emotional state, age, or other sensitive circumstances (e.g., a victim of rape, incest, or other form of sexual assault);
  • The recording would risk the safety of a confidential informant, community member informant, or undercover officer; and/or
  • Inside patient-care areas of a hospital, rape treatment center, or other healthcare facility unless an enforcement action is taken in these areas.

Department members may stop a recording during a required activation period, while not engaged with a member of the public, when discussing points-of-law, tactics, or debriefing an incident with other Department members or other law enforcement agencies.

If a recording exception is utilized by a BWC-equipped Department member, they shall:

  • Announce the reason for stopping the video prior to turning the BWC recording off.
  • Document the deactivation reason in the metadata file for the event in the Digital Evidence Management System (DEMS); and
  • Document the deactivation in any associated written report.

Body-worn cameras provide additional information during public interactions to ensure transparency, accountability, and increases our ability to reduce criminal and civil liability. BWCs will also allow deputy personnel to collect evidence for use in criminal investigations and prosecutions.

Research has shown that when officers are outfitted with BWC, citizen complaints decrease, uses of force incidents decrease, subject behavior improves, transparency and public trust is enhanced and cost savings are provided due to decreased litigation.

The video files will be stored in a cloud-based service managed by Axon and hosted on Microsoft Azure Government Cloud.  Axon and Microsoft offer a CJIS (FBI Security Standards) and FedRAMP compliant cloud environment for government agencies.  In addition, the evidence stored on behalf of the Sheriff’s Department has redundant backups and several protections to protect the integrity of digital evidence we collect.  Files are uploaded via the internet utilizing the most current security standards and includes “end-to-end encryption”.

Read more on Axon’s Security Standards.

Consistent with Sheriff Villanueva’s commitment to transparency and accountability, the Department is committed to releasing video related to critical incidents, as defined by Assembly Bill 748, and and will continue to publish critical incident briefings.

Members of the public may access the critical incident briefings available for viewing by visiting the Department’s transparency page.

Videos are considered evidence and will be released pursuant to lawful requests under Senate Bill 1421 and Assembly Bill 748.  Videos involving any case filed with the District Attorney are all provided for disposition in the criminal justice system. The Department will provide video as required by law, while protecting the privacy of members of the community captured on video.

For further information, please visit:

All body-worn camera (BWC) recordings will be stored by the cloud-based Digital Evidence Management System (DEMS) from the manufacturers for the term of the contract using the following criteria:

  • All recordings shall be retained for a minimum period of three years;
  • Recording associated with an URN number and statistical code which represents a 9 retention, shall be held for 9 years; and
  • Recording associated with an URN number and statistical code which represents a 0 retention, shall be held indefinitely.

If you were sent an Axon Citizen link via text or email that is no longer active but you need to upload more evidence, please contact your local station.

North Patrol Division:
  • Lancaster Station: (661) 948-8466
  • Malibu/Lost Hills Station: (818) 878-1808
  • Palmdale Station: (661) 272-2400
  • Santa Clarita Valley Station: (661) 255-1121
  • West Hollywood Station: (310) 855-8850
Central Patrol Division:
  • Avalon Station: (310) 510-0174
  • Century Station: (323) 568-4800
  • Compton Station: (310) 605-6500
  • East Los Angeles Station: (323) 264-4151
  • Marina Del Rey Station: (310) 482-6000
  • South Los Angeles Station: (323) 820-6700
South Patrol Division:
  • Carson Station: (310) 830-1123
  • Cerritos Station: (562) 860-0044
  • Lakewood Station: (562) 623-3500
  • Lomita Station: (310) 539-1661
  • Norwalk Station: (562) 863-8711
  • Pico Rivera Station: (562) 949-2421
East Patrol Division:
  • Altadena Station: (626) 798-1131
  • Crescenta Valley Station: (818) 248-3464
  • Industry Station: (626) 330-3322
  • San Dimas Station: (909) 450-2700
  • Temple Station: (626) 285-7171
  • Walnut/Diamond Bar Station: (909) 595-2264

The contract for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department was posted on August 31, 2020.

View the Terms of the contract.