Tags: police | body camera | study | civil rights

Police Body Camera Study: Policies Need to Be Improved Across US

Image: Police Body Camera Study: Policies Need to Be Improved Across US

In this Jan. 15, 2014 file photo, a Los Angeles Police officer wears an on-body camera during a demonstration in Los Angeles. Boston police had promised to launch a pilot program to outfit officers with body cameras by April 2016, but now are saying it will be closer to June. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

By    |   Wednesday, 03 Aug 2016 09:44 AM

Police departments using police body cameras across the United States are falling short when it comes to protecting citizens' civil rights and privacy, according a new study.

The Leadership Conference of Civil and Human Rights coalition by Upturn examined the use of body cameras in 50 U.S. cities and released a scorecard Tuesday outlining how each rated on eight criteria. The criteria included whether body camera policy is readily available to the public, whether officers are allowed discretion about when they use the cameras, and whether officers are prohibited from watching the footage before they write reports.

None of the departments met all of the criteria measured. Only 26 made their body-camera policies easily accessible to the public.

"Body cameras carry the promise of officer accountability, but accountability is far from automatic," Upturn principal Harlan Yu said, according to Reuters.

The use of body cameras has risen sharply since the 2014 police shooting of an unarmed teen in Ferguson, Missouri. The Ferguson Police Department failed all eight criteria in the study.

"It’s probably the worst body cam policy we’ve seen," Yu said, according to Bloomberg.

The report criticized departments for allowing officers to review footage before writing their police reports, saying such practices give officers a chance to file reports that explain away misconduct. The report also raised concerns about the possibility of incorporating facial recognition systems to analyze large amounts of footage.

The report follows the group's Civil Rights Principles on Body Worn Cameras, released in May 2015, identifying measures to protect civil rights in regard to the use of body cameras.

"Without carefully crafted policy safeguards in place, there is a real risk that these new devices could become instruments of injustice, rather than tools for accountability," the report said.

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Police departments using police body cameras across the United States are falling short when it comes to protecting citizens' civil rights and privacy, according a new study.
police, body camera, study, civil rights
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2016-44-03
Wednesday, 03 Aug 2016 09:44 AM
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