Police Body Cameras Police body cameras have recently been a more popular and effective way to improve safety among the public, and police officers alike.

This video is of a news cover that shows many things like the usefulness of multiple camera angles, especially from the police officers point of view, some instances of police misconduct, and also spoke on an unarmed shooting where a body camera would've drastically provided very useful information towards the case. The video also shows the officers and their body cameras and how easy they are to use in day to day encounters.


  • Litigation - "the process of taking legal action"
  • Implement - "put a plan or decision into effect"
  • Grievances - “a cause of compliant, most commonly for unfair reasons"
  • Prosecutors - "a party that handles legal situations"
  • Judicial Proceeding - "a court case"
  • Exonerate -"being wrongly accused and persecuted"

Why would the public want police officers to use body cameras?

There are many reasons that communities might want the police departments to implement body cameras. First, much of the public agrees with the implementation of the police body cameras. In an article by The CATO Institute, “the use of police body cameras is supported across political and racial demographics”, stating that a majority of the public and government approves of the concept. Secondly, the police body cameras discipline the police officers and in-turn, improve police behavior. According to Matthew Feeney, “A fairly common recommendation for reducing police misconduct is to increase use of body cameras. By recording police-citizen encounters, police supervisors, judges, reporters, and others can get objective evidence of what happened instead of self-serving hearsay”. With the use of police body cameras, litigation would be far easier for the courts to decide the final verdict. Police body cameras can prove to be very beneficial for not only the police officers, but also the people of the city the cameras are implemented in.

What resources does it take to implement police body cameras?

Police body cameras are not cheap to implement, which is always an issue for police departments. According to Will Estrad, “The cameras offered by Tuttle’s company range in price from $399-$599 per unit” (Estrad). With body cameras being around $400 to $600 per officer, the costs can add up fast for a police department. Another cost that comes with the use of body cameras is the cost it takes to store the body camera footage. According to Eric Markowitz, a writer at the International Business Times, “In San Diego, for instance, the police department recently purchased cameras for about $500 each, but will spend $1,495 per year, per unit, for video storage costs“ (Markowitz). Although the costs of body cameras are relatively high, the continued advancement in today’s technology will make them more affordable in the long run, but police departments should begin to implement the cameras more because of their effectiveness out in the field to paint a clear picture of police incidents.

How does this not only impact the police officers, but also the victims involved in a specific case?

Body cameras can give both sides of the case a valid piece of evidence, allowing for the judgement to be clear for the judge and the jury. A video captured from a police camera provides concrete evidence for everything in the case. As stated by the Police Chief of Chesapeake, Kelvin Wright, “ the body camera is ‘not an all-seeing eye, but it's close. It is an independent viewpoint’”. The Police Chief states how beneficial the body camera and even compares it to a all seeing eye. Also, in a case that would’ve been better off if the police officer had a body camera, “a woman who was charged in December with resisting arrest and who claimed the officer snatched her phone, slammed her to the ground and threw her in his squad car. Video from the squad car camera obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request by the Daily Herald shows only an empty street, as the interaction between the officer and the woman took place out of camera view” (Ferrarin). With a body camera, the prosecutors would’ve had more evidence to make a clear decisions, especially since the camera of the squad car was out of view from the confrontation. Body cameras are very beneficial because of how clear of evidence they can bring to the table for both sides of the argument.

Why might the public be against police body cameras?

Although body cameras allow a clear picture to be painted while in court, some people might be against body cameras because of the privacy concerns that come with a camera recording everything while an officer is on duty. As stated by Dustin Sternbeck, chief D.C. police spokesman, “We’re not running around to capture demonstrators on tape. We're not going around doing surveillance of demonstrations” (Hermann). Police body cameras are very controversial during protests or marches because people are afraid that a large group of people are being recorded and will be prosecuted later. This is why some police departments choose to turn off their body cameras during protests and only turn them on when necessary. Also, as mentioned by The CATO Institute, “Police body cameras do pose privacy concerns, but those concerns can be resolved with the right policies in place”. With the implementation of body cameras, also comes the implementation of policies regarding the public’s privacy. Some instances where people might be worried with privacy could be instances where a scene could result in a death of a someone, or in other instances where a victim of assault might have not decided to press charge towards one another. With the right policies, the public shouldn’t have to worry about any concerns that might arise from an otherwise very beneficial piece of technology.

How will body cameras improved relationships between the public and the police departments in the future?

Police body cameras will continue to become more popular in the coming years, and this will definitely help improve relationships in many communities around the United States. According to Elena Ferrarin, who interviewed the Elgin Police Department when they “The use of body cameras could drive drown the number of residents' complaints against police, just as the introduction of squad car cameras did 13 years ago” . With the continued introduction of police body cameras in more and more police departments, less cases of grievances from police misconduct will occur and ultimately continuing to improve the public’s impression of police. Also, most people support the use of police body cameras now, “ There are certainly valid concerns regarding how this technology will be implemented, but the strong support shown for these cameras seems to indicate it’s a matter of when, not if, they’ll be implemented” (Estrad). The majority agrees with the use of body cameras right now so the only concern is how fast we can implement the cameras so that more interactions between the public and police can be safe for everyone and so that every judicial proceeding can be rightly justified without any exonerations in the persecution.

Photos of Different Types of Body Cameras

As you can see, these body cameras are very unobtrusive and quite compact

Works Cited

Erstad, Will. “Police Perspective: The Pros & Cons of Police Body Cameras.” Rasmussen College, 25 January 2016, http://www.rasmussen.edu/degrees/justice-studies/blog/pros-and-cons-of-police-body-cameras/. Accessed 25 January 2017.

Ferrarin, Elena. “Elgin cops on testing body cameras: 'We're embracing it'” Daily Herald, http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20150929/news/150928653/. 29 September 2015. Accessed 28 January 2017.

Freely, Mathew. “Police Body Cameras.” Cato Institute, https://www.policemisconduct.net/explainers/police-body-cameras/. Accessed 24 January 2017.

Hermann, Peter, and Keith L. Alexander. "D.C. police body cameras: Off at demonstrations, on for criminal behavior, public interaction." The Washington Post. WP Company, 19 Jan. 2017. Web. 27 Jan. 2017.

Markowitz, Eric. “Police Departments Face A Crucial Question: How To Pay For Body Cameras?” International Business Times, http://www.ibtimes.com/police-departments-face-crucial-question-how-pay-body-cameras-2366968. 12 May 2016. Accessed 29 January 2017.

Pointer, Jack. “Bowser praises DC police body camera program.” Washington, DC News, http://wtop.com/dc/2017/01/bowser-happy-dc-police-body-cams/ . Accessed 26 January 2017.

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