Tags: Law Enforcement | police | body cameras | pros and cons

5 Pros and Cons of Police Wearing Body Cameras

By    |   Tuesday, 30 Jun 2015 01:46 PM

Congress took symbolic action on police body cameras in June 2015, supporting a a non-binding resolution to encourage police to wear body cameras on duty. The resolution was sponsored by Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, in response to the resignation of a Texas police officer accused of police brutality.

In light of recent riots in Ferguson, Baltimore, and other cities, police body cameras have become a controversial issue.

Urgent: Should All Police Officers Have to Wear Body Cameras?

Here are the main pros and cons of police body cameras.

Pros
  • Accountability — Continuously wearing body cameras would hold police accountable for their appropriate, and inappropriate, conduct. Body cameras could prevent cases like Ferguson and Baltimore, where there was no way for the public to know for sure what had happened.
  • Human Side of Policing — Playing body cameras continuously could also improve the public’s view of policing by showing the human side. “Sitting in a station house or patrol car shooting the breeze, getting to know each other as humans, discussing precinct politics, etc. We have some sympathy for police on this,” said the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which supports the use of body cameras.
Cons
  • Privacy — Body cameras are seen as an invasion of privacy, as they provide state-owned footage. When police cameras are on, they will capture everyday civilian and police behavior that does not necessarily need to be recorded. Do all defendants want their arrests recorded? Do all bystanders want to be in those videos when shown in court?
  • Limitations — Because it is not practical to have cameras play constantly, there must be guidelines for when police should turn their cameras on and off. Many current policies encourage the cameras to be turned on only when police are among the public. “The only time people can know that the officers have not been turning on the cameras would be in a scenario where there is a complaint against the officer,” Bill Sousa, associate criminology professor at the University of Nevada told the Huffington Post. A technological malfunction or forgetfulness could incriminate officers when misconduct has not occurred.

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Congress took symbolic action on police body cameras in June 2015, supporting a a non-binding resolution to encourage police to wear body cameras on duty.
police, body cameras, pros and cons
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2015-46-30
Tuesday, 30 Jun 2015 01:46 PM
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