There's a lot of debate about body cameras The body camera debate stems from police violence that has been happening for the last few years.

Glossary

Body Cameras:a small video camera worn on the body, typically used by police officers to record arrests, evidence from crime scenes, etc.

Brutality: savage physical violence; great cruelty.

Infringement: the action of breaking the terms of a law, agreement, etc.; violation.

Discrimination: the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex.

Ameliorating: making something bad better

Infraction: a violation or infringement of a law, agreement, or set of rules.

Do body cameras impact the community's view on good police work?

The display of the cameras on the police officer has made the community view the officers very highly, than officers who don’t wear a camera. The camera shows the police officers are doing their jobs correctly. Police officers wearing the camera can have a good relationship with their community and their colleagues. They will have better respect by their community and have trust in doing what is right. One may think that they would get their respect by knowing that they wouldn’t lie about what they did because the truth would eventually have to come out having the body cameras (Tarangioli). Knowing that the devices are there, not only gives respect to the officers, but also drop the amount of objection to the use of body cameras from the public. Complaints by citizens against police officers have dropped considerably since they started using body cameras. For instance, complaints have dropped by 60% in California, 75% in Arizona, and 24% Idaho (Scheindlin). So as one can read, complaints have dropped drastically. With the positives of body cameras, there are also the negatives.

When do body cameras cause trust and privacy issues?

People don’t trust the police department’s officials who view the videotape of traffic stops and violations. The trust issue comes into play when a police officer stops a citizen, and some officers turn on their camera, while others keep their camera off. There really aren’t any guidelines about why or when an officer should turn on their body camera; so it basically comes down to the police officer’s discretion. The percentage turns out to be about 50% for turning them off or leaving them on. The factor of trust comes from the public wondering if police officers will do the right thing and turn on their cameras (Tarangioli). The public views body cameras as an infringement on their private life. People are concerned that the government is getting to involved with the people's lives through body cameras (“Growing use of police body cameras raises privacy concerns”). Once body cameras have caught one on video, police then gain the ability to use that footage to recognize where that person was and has the ability to link one to the scene. Also, facial recognition becomes a possibility that can be connected to a certain group which could lead to more discrimination and violence. Questions remain about what type of infraction the police show use their cameras for. One of the negatives is the police violence that people see now.

Show in this graph are two of the major concerns of body cameras which are privacy and cost issues .
How have body cameras brought police violence into the public's eye?

In the past police violence existed, but as a result of body cameras the public now sees that it does exists. It is no longer possible for people to pretend it doesn’t exist because we constantly see it on the news. An example of a lack of a body camera was the tragic death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was shot and killed by a white police officer. There was no visual hard evidence about what actually happened because a body camera was not used. “Now, protesters are pointing to another disputed incident involving a police officer shooting that could have been easily resolved in captured on a body camera,” says Susan Crabtree a reporter from the publication Examiner. The use of body cameras have changed the viewpoint of many people, no matter what race. In some cases the police use more violence then they should for arresting a citizen. Many of the situations with the usage of brutality is because of racism. According to the video from “Charges Dropped; Body Cam Video Fort Worth Arrest Released,” a white police officer vigorously pushed a black woman into the back of his patrol car. This was after she called the police to complain that her son was allegedly choked after not picking up his litter in her neighbor’s yard. This was seen by millions of people because of his body camera (Thomas). The cost of body cameras is another is another issue because they cost so much.

What is the amount that is spent on this program?

The Boston Police department has spent about $80,000 dollars on this program. This would most likely be a sufficient amount if the population of the town was from 10,000 to 15,000 people and the police department only had 10 officers employed. The problem is Boston has a population of 645,966 and over 2,000 officers employed. As you can see, $80,000 won’t go a long way (Atkinson). Boston isn’t the only city where this is a problem. The St. Louis police department is facing a problem of trying to fund about 900 officials with cameras. Camera costs range from $800 t0 $1,200 and the video storage costs around $65,000 per year. There is no way a large police department can afford cameras for all their officers (Crabtree). Police enforcement are budding head for the reason being, if body cameras are useful for their jobs.

Where do the people in charge stand?

Members of the higher end of the legal board are about fifty, fifty on if they think that the body cameras are a positive or negative improvement. Many may be mindful of all the things that could go wrong but look forward toward ameliorating. Many city council members support the idea of the body camera, Terry Gavin explains that he wants police officers to use the cameras for drug arrests to help get good evidence of the person who is in possession of the drugs (Ferrarin). On the other hand Tim Lynch, a legal expert at the libertarian Cato Institute, believes that the body camera will be a safer alternative for police to have. He believes it will prevent officers from using brutal force, but also protect officers who are doing their job right from getting into trouble for events that did not happen (Crabtree).

Citations

Elgin cops on testing body cameras: 'We're embracing it' - News & Issues - ProQuest. Search.proquest.com. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/news/docview/1717762521/4E73F408DC8A40FCPQ/6?accountid=42214

Joe Fitzgerald. "Commissioner Evans weighs extension of cop body camera program." Bostonherald.com, http://www.bostonherald.com/news/local_coverage/2017/01/commissioner_evans_weighs_extension_of_cop_body_camera_program?scrlybrkr=bd17ab2b. Accessed 30 Jan. 2017.

Joel Thomas. "Charges Dropped; Body Cam Video Fort Worth Arrest Released." Dfw.cbslocal.com, 26 Jan. 2017, http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2017/01/26/body-cam-video-of-fort-worth-arrest-released/. Accessed 31 Jan. 2017.

KTAR.com (25 Jan. 2017.). Study: Body cameras improve relationship between police, community. KTAR.com. Retrieved from http://ktar.com/story/1438526/study-body-cameras-improve-relationship-between-police-community/

Matthew T. Mangino More Content Now. "Matthew T. Mangino: Police body cameras ‘Ready! Set! Action!’." The Repository, http://www.cantonrep.com/news/20170120/matthew-t-mangino-police-body-cameras-ready-set-action. Accessed 30 Jan. 2017.

"One year after Ferguson, still no body cameras on cops - News & Issues - ProQuest." Search.proquest.com, http://search.proquest.com/news/docview/1706089764/B908B170794B4E09PQ/1?accountid=42214. Accessed 31 Jan. 2017.

Matt Pearce. "Growing use of police body cameras raises privacy concerns." latimes.com, 27 Sept. 2014, http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-body-cameras-20140927-story.html. Accessed 13 Feb. 2017.

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