Body cameras could deliver a better and safer world. People are often wrongly accused of crimes they didn’t commit by the police officers in many situations, innocent people could get jail time, and a lot of hate. However, if a body camera is available everyone would know the whole story.
The report by Dame Tessa and Baroness Lawrence follows a consultation with young people affected by stop and search. They write, ‘We’ve seen in London and around that world that when police officers wear cameras everyone benefits. Officers are less likely to be assaulted, the public have more confidence in the police, and the evidence cameras collect helps secure more convictions for offences like domestic violence.’ Even this one statement proves that body cameras have many benefits for both the police and the people. “If police were wearing cameras, an officer tempted to lose his cool might behave differently. A study of camera use by the Rialto, Calif., police department showed a marked drop in the number of incidents involving use of force – and also a drop in complaints against police.”(CNW Group Ltd. – Globe & Mail). This also proves that body cameras are needed around the globe! So should police wear body cameras?
“Footage captured may also be used as evidence in arrests or prosecutions. Proponents have suggested that video captured by body-worn cameras may help document the occurrence and nature of various types of crime, reduce the overall amount of time required for officers to complete paperwork for case files, corroborate evidence presented by prosecutors, and lead to higher numbers of guilty pleas in court proceedings.”(Chapman). The earliest studies conducted in the United Kingdom indicated that body-worn cameras resulted in positive interactions between officers and citizens and made people feel safer. “In 2014, researchers at Arizona State University found that officers equipped with BWCs were more productive in making arrests, had fewer complaints against them compared to officers without BWCs, and had higher numbers of citizen complaints resolved in their favor.”(Chapman) “Another study conducted with the Rialto (California) Police Department found similar decreases in citizen complaints lodged against officers with BWCs, along with decreases in use-of-force incidents.”(Chapman)
Even with all the statistics there are still personal examples of how cameras have helped everyone. “Walter Scott, 50, was shot 5 times as he ran from a police officer who went for his gun rather than running after him. He handcuffed the fatally wounded man on the ground, called for assistance and then went back to pick up an object and drop it beside the victim. We know these details only because a bystander captured it all on his cellphone camera. It was the release of that video that prompted city officials to fire the officer, Michael Thomas Slager, and charge him with murder.”(CNW Group Ltd. – Globe & Mail). “There was also the assault on Rodney King in Los Angeles in 1991, the fatal tasering of Robert Dziekanski by RCMP officers at Vancouver International Airport in 2007 and the choking death of Eric Garner in Staten Island”(CNW Group Ltd. – Globe & Mail) and most likely many more. Bryce Peterson finds some very good cases that perfectly describe why all police officers should wear a body camera,“In one case, Milwaukee police officers stopped Sterling Brown, an NBA player for the Milwaukee Bucks, for a parking violation. After a verbal exchange, the officers wrestled Brown to the ground and tased him. Once footage of the incident was released, the officers involved were suspended. In another incident, Sherita Dixon-Cole accused a Texas state trooper of sexually assaulting her during a DWI (driving while intoxicated) arrest and threatening to kill her fiancé if she told anyone about what happened. The events depicted in the officer’s body camera footage strongly contradict these claims.”
Even with the plethora of people that think all police officers should wear body cameras, there are still some who oppose this. “Supporters argue that the presence of cameras can reduce tensions during stop and searches. However, some civil liberties campaigners say the move would put everyone under suspicion.” (Chapman).
There is so much more evidence that could be used to why all police officers should wear body cameras. It will not only help out the pedestrians, but even the police officers in some instances too. If we all act now we could save so many people from suffering from something that never happened. Our world would be made a better place.
- ‘Time to put cameras on cops.’ Globe & Mail [Toronto, Canada], 9 Apr. 2015, p. A14. Gale In Context: Opposing Viewpoints, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/A408919096/OVIC?u=mlin_n_swamppub&sid=OVIC&xid=4234559a Accessed 13 Jan. 2020.
- Brett Chapman, “Body-Worn Cameras: What the Evidence Tells Us,” December 9, 2018, nij.ojp.gov:https://nij.ojp.gov/library/publications/body-worn-cameras-what-evidence-tells-us
- Brett Chapman, ‘Body-Worn Cameras: What the Evidence Tells Us,’ November 14, 2018, nij.ojp.gov:https://nij.ojp.gov/topics/articles/body-worn-cameras-what-evidence-tells-us
- ”Frontline Met officers must wear cameras’ Footage can cut stop and search confrontations, says Lawrence.’ London Evening Standard [London, England], 15 May 2015, p. 19. Gale In Context: Opposing Viewpoints, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/A413718921/OVIC?u=mlin_n_swamppub&sid=OVIC&xid=e93e4b1a Accessed 13 Jan. 2020.
- Bryce Peterson “Three ways police can use body cameras to build community trust” May 29, 2018 https://www.urban.org/urban-wire/three-ways-police-can-use-body-cameras-build-community-trust Accessed 17 Jan. 2020.
- https://www.cato.org/policing-in-america/chapter-4/police-body-cameras look at this website
- Almost all Americans (89%) support requiring police officers to wear body cameras to record their on-duty interactions: 53% ‘strongly support’ and 35% ‘somewhat support’ this proposal. A paltry 11% oppose police wearing body cameras.