The Impact of Police Body Cameras Body cameras are a new technology that is being implemented all across the united states


Contemporaneous - Existing at the same time.

Accountability - The act of being responsible or accountable; responsibility.

Trove - Valuable information of things

Perceptions - Becoming aware of surroundings

Dispatch - dealing with a task, problem, or opponent quickly and efficiently.

Empirical - Verifiable by experience rather than logic or theory

How does the increase in the use of police body cameras change the ways of current policing?

With increased amounts of body cameras, police force and civilians alike will have to behave. Supporters of the body cameras perceive that they will improve police behavior. According to the University of Cambridge, many departments have already implemented these body cameras. They state that “use-of-force in incidents fell by 64%.” According to the statements, this was done on a year long study. These studies are very clear in conveying the effects of police body cameras on the force. Having footage to document an event leaves a purely unbiased view of the situation. It allows for things to be documented, and leaves little rooms for lies. Columbus police dispatch also states, “A police officer who acts lawfully has the right to defend himself through documentation.” This means that overall body cameras will help both police and citizens, and also reduce use of force incidents and misconduct. However, even though the cameras bring all of these benefits, how will they be paid for?

How much is the cost of implementing body cameras to police forces?

Even though the controversy of liability and privacy issues are present contemporaneously, there still is talk on how the data and memory of footage will be stored. According to a manager who lives in Berkeley, California, “The manager warned of costs upwards of 55,000$ a year just for the storage of 150 cameras.” Data storage comes at a steep price, but having first hand accountability of an event through the camera will be a beneficial investment. Mayor of Baltimore Steph Rawling conveys her feeling that, “We didn’t have a lot of room because of the budget. We don’t have much room to get things wrong.” Although the cameras seem to need a large starting investment, it is something that should still be worked towards. Data and storage costs have made body cameras increasingly difficult to implement, but the benefits should push cities to work towards implementing these cameras with time and effort. Many cities already struggle to find the budget, and room to implement these cameras. They have a major impact on the city's’ budget. With all of the new expenses that these cameras bring, the big question is, will the opportunity of body cameras affect the population enough to have an impact on the behavior of police force?

Does police behavior impove when body cameras are implemented?

Even though body cameras have a major impact on the city budget, it also has a positive correlation with police officer accountability. These cameras, when implemented, causes major change in policing. Many people in society believe being watched will make police behave better. Research from San Bernardino show that, “officers who were wearing cameras on shift had 60 percent lower force against suspects, and complaints fell close to zero in the following year.” This research shows that the body cameras have positive correlations regarding behavior and use of force incidents. Many forces are already looking for way to reduce misconduct, and police misbehavior. Criminal justice journalist from Harvard states that, “Empirical support showing officer cameras can help counties achieve their aim.” These body cameras will help different departments in reaching their behavioral goal, and knowing from many states, the new technology does have an effect on policing.

How will body cameras be used in gathering evidence?

Body cameras may be the solution for misconduct of police officers. Many incidents include the misconduct of an officer. These events often have many trying to deduce the cause of the incident, and who is in the right. Southern California branch makes a statement that, “the power police officers have to use force is extremely extraordinary.” In most situations, use of force is covered up, or evidence is lacking. Body cameras will help in providing solid support to use of force incidents, and even more. Chief of Topeka, R. Miller states, “Footage that show first-hand views have already been responsible for guilty pleas without trial.” The footage is unbiased. It can have a trove of proof for misconduct on either sides. “Unlike dash cameras, the body cameras capture everything an officer sees,” Chief Police J. Parker says. Many departments also agree that body cameras are a positive thing. It shows a clear view of incidents between civilians and police officers alike. However, even through the many benefits of police body cameras, there is much concern about how it will affect privacy.

How will the change of privacy affect the future?

Thousands in the police force have taken to wearing body cameras. New technology is being innovated at very fast rates. Many innovations are being added quicker than police forces can even implement them. However, the growing implementation of cameras are leading to concerns about privacy. LA Daily states, “Unlike dashboard cameras, the body cameras follows what the officer sees.” The body cameras are always recording, and will capture everything. This includes private conversations with civilians, and other officers. While this helps with monitoring policing and gathering evidence, it also intrudes on the daily life of citizens. There are many concerns on public footage, and issues regarding privacy will be a prevalent issue in the long run. Policies helping to contain public footage, and make it inaccessible to the public may help with the concerns. However, a recent study by federals shows “60 law enforcements agencies state that ⅓ of agencies do not have any sort of policy on the footage.” There are few with privacy policies that are written. There aren’t many studies to determine how many agencies are using cameras, and therefore it is harder to write laws for it. A civilian opinion, who is in favor of these cameras, states that “you’re seeing departments just putting cameras on officers without setting any rules.” The footage, which is unedited, can have negative effects on victims. This is why written policies is important to the future, as well as the present, regarding privacy. Legislators, law organizations, and liberty groups have all recommended these policies. Overall, privacy is a big issue for the future regarding body cameras, and will continue to be so until there are set boundaries and policies in place for the use of footage and cameras.

Works Cited

Erstad, Will. "Rasmussen College." Rasmussen College, 26 January 2016, Web. Accessed 26 February 2017.

Pegues, Jeff. “Implementing police body cameras.” CBS News, 15 February 2016, Web. Accessed 7 Feb. 2017.

Holmes, Evelyn, "City to expedite CPD body camera program." ABC7 Chicago, 28 Dec. 2016. Web. Accessed 28 February 2017.

"How Will Police Body Cameras Affect the Community?" University Wire, Nov 01 2015, Web. Accessed 10 February 2017.

McDonald, Brent, "With Rise of Body Cameras, New Tests ofTransparency and Trust." New York Times. The New York Times, 6 Jan. 2017. Web. Accessed 26 Jan. 2017.

Tsin Yen, Koh. "Body Cameras For Police Officers On Patrol: Overview." Points of View Reference Center. Web. Accessed 1 Feb. 2017.

Created By
Trey Xiong

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