Technology III: Body Cameras

This final installment on technology in the criminal justice system concerns police body cameras.  They are, unequivocally, a great idea.  Really, there is no dispute about it.  Police body cameras keep both the police and those with whom the police interact in line.  When people know they are being recorded, the behave themselves.  Also, any misbehavior is easily proven and not merely a matter of two conflicting versions of events.

Body cameras protect the public.  If the cop knows he is being recorded, he will not make an illegal stop or use excessive force.

Body cameras protect the police.  If the suspect knows he is being recorded, he is not likely to resist, flee or assault the officer.  Body cameras also assist in defending meritless lawsuits filed against police officers.

Body cameras protect police departments.  The use of body cameras allows police officials to identify unacceptable behavior, to discipline rule breaking officers, and to identify areas where training is needed.

So, whatever the cost, body cameras are worth it.

One thought on “Technology III: Body Cameras

  1. Manuel

    Right off the bat the answer is yes, for all the reasons stated. But cameras can be turned off and then on again by a shady officer, and departments can manipulate video-editing where entire sequences can be zapped, and finally forget about being let off by a nice-guy cop who lets you slide with a warning on some minor infraction., that is, if the camera is on. Only a central command system would ensure a viable and fair system, and we are not near that for all police localities. A good ideas with kinks that must be worked out to be credible but right now it better to have cameras than not.

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