LAPD admits to tampering with in-car video cameras

The L.A. Times reported yesterday that the LAPD has known for months that officers had been disabling the antennas which provide audio for the in-car video cameras. The antennas pick up the feed from the microphones on the officers’ belts so that audio is recorded with the video up to several hundred yards from the vehicle, said Sgt. Dan Gomez, a department expert on the recording devices. The abuse seemed to have been concentrated in South Central Los Angeles, where approximately 80 cars had missing antennas in the South L.A. Patrol Division alone. Police Chief Charlie Beck (pictured), said he chose not to investigate which officers had removed the cameras, but merely to tell them not to do it again.  

DMV Holds Public Hearing on Undocumented Immigrant Licenses

Last night more than 250 people packed into the Bell Community Center for a hearing about the new Immigrant Driver’s License law to go into effect next year. State Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) and DMV officials, including Assistant Chief Counsel Brian Soublet, answered public questions about the new law. Some of the questions posed involved the proof DMV will require for an immigrant license, noting that in many cases folks have lost touch with anyone back home. Others were concerned that the driver’s licenses would be used to identify illegals for deportation.  Senator Lara acknowledged that law enforcement officers who don’t want to follow the law was a “big problem.” Last night’s hearing was the second of two planned before DMV starts drafting the regulations required to implement the new law, which Mr. Soublet said he hoped would be completed by late spring. Then DMV will hold another set of public hearings to talk about those proposed rules. UPDATE: The L.A. Times posted an article on last night’s hearing, quoting the United Nation’s Children Fund for the statistic that up to 40% of births in the developing world are undocumented, and noted that the figure may be as high as 60% in some Mexican states.  

New DMV laws took effect last month

DMV reminds us of several laws that took effect in January. Most notable is that it is now illegal for teens to text while driving, even on a hands-free device.

What Will a DUI Cost You?: Part 1

By Richland County DUI Task Force “What’s the big deal..I’ve driven home lots of times drunk, nothing has ever happened.” Just because you’ve done it before doesn’t mean you will be able to do it safely again. Ask anyone who has been charged with a DUI, with a DUI crash involving damage, injuries, or deaths…or ask the families of loved ones who have been injured or lost due to a DUI crash. IT IS A BIG DEAL! Yes everyone in our community can do something about it…. Financially a DUI is costly…but do you really know how costly? • Fines: up to $5000 or more • Court costs/fees: $135 (if there is no trial) • Jury/witness costs: $400-$500 (for a trial) • Attorney fees: $150 for public defender & $70/hour if it goes to trial or $100-$300/hour for private counsel • Vehicle impound and towing • Chemical dependency assessment and mandatory alcohol classes: $325 or more • Driver license reinstatement fee: $200 Additional options that the Judge may order: • Victim’s Impact Panel: Cost varies • Ignition Interlock: $75-$120 installation plus $70/month • Transdermal alcohol monitoring device: $10-12/day or $300-360/month • 24-7 Sobriety Program: $4 per day or $120/month Do you think it’s a big deal yet? If the alcohol assessment mandates treatment, you could pay thousands of dollars out-of-pocket.

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Tougher DUI penalties proposed in Washington Legislature

Jim Camden             The Spokesman-Review OLYMPIA – Drunken drivers could face prison on their fourth conviction if the Legislature can find a way to pay for the extra burden on state prisons and county jails. One possible source of money: taxes the state currently collects on alcohol, and some of what it expects to collect for legal marijuana. With victims recounting stories of devastated families and law enforcement officials asking for tougher laws, a Senate panel agreed Monday that drivers should face a felony charge if they are arrested a fourth time in 10 years for driving drunk or under the influence of marijuana or other drugs. “Lives will be saved and hearts won’t be broken forever,” Linda Thompson of the Greater Spokane Substance Abuse Council told the Senate Law and Justice Committee. Impaired drivers kill more people than guns, said Amy Freedheim, King County’s DUI prosecutor, who added that one recent repeat offender told officers his license has been suspended for years but he won’t stop driving, likening it to sex as “something people just have to do.” Washington is also about to allow people to sell another “impairing drug,” recreational marijuana, which when combined with alcohol could have a synergistic effect on drivers, Freedheim said. Sen. Adam Kline, D-Seattle, said he suspected all members of the committee would support SB 6090, but that’s only

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O.C. Crime Lab Reports MORE Errors in DUI Tests

The Orange County Crime Lab admitted yesterday that a second machine was improperly calibrated, resulting in an underestimation of BAC in about 100 cases. The lab plans to request a state audit to review its standards and procedures.