How Police Body Cameras have impacted society The payment, distribution, function and usage of Police Body Cameras

Glossary

Evidence - the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.

Statement - a written or in certain circumstances a video-recorded account of what happened and may be used as evidence in court

Accountability - the fact or condition of being accountable; responsibility for one's actions

Defendant- an individual, company, or institution sued or accused in a court of law.

Transparency - having thoughts, feelings, or motives that are easily perceived

Technology - the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes, especially in industry

Flexibility - the ability to be easily modified

Informed - having or showing knowledge of a particular subject or situation

How many cameras will be distributed and how will they be diffused?

Police body cameras are gaining popularity, and due to this many different districts are asking for these devices all over the country. Many different departments are accepting the cameras and trying to get them to implement them as quickly as possible. "EDITORIAL: First a Policy, Then Body Cams in School" explains that in the York City District, full time officers have already been provided with body cameras since January 11 and have started using them in their patrol. Police body cameras are still being distributed and the time it will take for the government to help each department will be different. Though a large number of departments have already been using this technology all over the country. John Penney, a writer for the Norwich Bulletin, shares that in October of last year, the Plainfield Police Department received 20 uniform mounted cameras to integrate into their protocol. This department and many more are to use these devices as long as the money to provide them is avaliable.

How much money will these body cameras cost and how will they be paid for?

The body cameras given to police officers will be expensive due to the amount of cameras being implemented. The government will help pay for body cameras to ensure that they are implemented throughout the country. Amounts vary between departments, but Plainfield, for example, received a state grant of $80,000 to pay for (Penney). This means that many departments will have the chance to implement body cameras due to government funding. The way that the cameras will be manufactured and sold is a process carried outside of the control of the police force. According to Jeff Pegues, a reporter for CBS News, Taser Inc. and Vievu LLC, are companies that have made the distribution of body cameras and industry. The amount put into the cause is all dependent upon the public, but as rules and restrictions change, the accountability and transparency the officers becomes more important.

What are the rules if there are any at all for police body cameras?

In any organized group where one has a job to do, there are rules to follow to ensure that everyone is doing their job. It is no different when police use body cameras. Police have to follow a certain set of rules, or a protocol on when and how to use them, one example would be in Washington (Source 6). There is also rules to how to properly use the footage captured by the body cameras. Footage can be used as evidence in courts and this comes with some protocols. In San Francisco, before one can review footage taken by a body camera, officers must make a statement beforehand (Source 1). Now that a general rules have been established, many officers will be able to use these cameras in the field. Rules allow for the base but body cameras will improve increasing their functionality.

How will the camera footage be used?

In recent years, police body cameras have been implemented into police departments as part of their policy, but the policy on how to use them are very new. In actuality, police have reached a general consensus to how to use and save the footage captured which is to save all footage and go through it to see any misconduct. After the first month of deployment of police body cameras across the country, 140,000 videos or 34,000 hours of footage have already been recorded (“Implementing police body cameras remains work in progress”). Even though most of the footage recorded is just interactions between officer and citizen, some of the footage is of criminal activity. This is where the footage can be used best: in court as evidence rather than a just a statement. It can either be used to prosecute or defend a citizen, officer, or fugitive. When the arrest is already made, police can use the footage captured at the scene as evidence to present to the court for either side, prosecutor or defendant (Penney). In fact, it has already been used in many court cases and is planned to be used in future cases. Their usage has only been encouraged by the public as they expect to stay informed on these types of cases.

What is the public opinion of these cameras and what functionality does the public want from the cameras?

Body cameras have been implemented throughout the country, and public opinion of them has been very positive. The cameras record with a push of a button and can record many hours of footage. Public opinion has been pushing for them to be put into action because of the way it allows transparency. Many believe that police should be using body cameras to be held accountable for their actions just as the general public is forced to do so ("How will police body cameras affect the community? how will police body cameras affect the community?"). The way that body cameras can be used as evidence allows people to see the truth rather than depending on other people’s testimonies, which can be mislead. According to FredrickPolls, one of the country's leading political polling firms, the public have had many suggestions as to how many improvements one could add to the cameras. 94% of people wanted an “Officer Down” alert if an officer is shot or having the body camera embedded in the in the armored vest, 86% wanted police to be able to record in high definition and 72% wanted to have the videos being uploaded immediately ("Poll shows americans united in need for police body cameras"). Of course there are many conflicts that come with these kinds of improvements such as with recording in high definition. Facial recognition becomes a problem when one’s face and identity has been stored and could be watched and targeted because they were spotted at specific events. While the main function of recording footage has been developed for these cameras many would like flexibility to change and improve it. Overall, police body cameras have helped improve society as a whole by providing it with protection and transparency and will continue to do so.

Created By
Ignatius Pham
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Created with images by cwwycoff1 - "Body Cam Donation-Check Presentation" • TBIT - "dollar dollar bill finance" • Utility_Inc - "bodyworn body camera police body camera" • Marcela McGreal - "New York's Finest"

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