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Aug 12, 12:35 PM EDT

LA deputies' private body cams raise transparency questions



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LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The largest sheriff's department in the U.S. doesn't have a policy for body cameras after years of studying the issue.

So hundreds and perhaps thousands of its deputies have taken matters into their own hands and purchased the cameras themselves.

But it raises a host of thorny issues for the Los Angeles County sheriff's department.

A 2014 Justice Department report advised against the practice, saying there would be little protection to stop officers from tampering with recordings or posting them online.

The county's inspector general has said an estimated 20 percent of the department's 10,000 deputies have purchased cameras.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California calls the practice "a recipe for disaster."

Sheriff Jim McDonnell says the department is crafting a policy for the privately-owned cameras.

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