Everything nowadays can be accessed on the internet, including incriminating cell phone videos shot by civilians showing extreme actions being taken by police officers. Hard to dispute hard forensic evidence like that...unless you had some of your own. More often than not those videos that get uploaded to YouTube and create department headaches don't show the whole story -- just the bits where the officer looks bad. Police officers should be given the opportunity to present accurate evidence that depicts them doing nothing more than their job.
There are numerous advantages of police body cameras and using dash cams for all officers.
Knowing that they're on camera, most civilians will be more eager to cooperate with officers. Call it recognition or simply the fact that people will act more appropriately when they know someone might be watching.
A recent study showed that police officers wearing body cameras get 93% fewer public complaints. Having cameras in place means a greater sense of transparency not only with the public but within the department as well. That's a lot less time dealing with headaches and more time protecting the people.
Instead of having a cell phone video that only shows an Officer using force, the body cam can show how the suspect refused arrest and assaulted the police officer. One of the advantages of police body cameras is the ability to capture all of the actions of both parties can mean settling accusations and complaints with a push of a button. It also means getting the facts right in court and making sure there's no ambiguity when it comes to exactly what transpired.
Having body cams and dash cams can provide training opportunities that perhaps hadn't presented themselves before. It allows even the most senior officers a chance to see not only what they're doing but what others are doing as well and can correct or improve their actions based on firsthand accounts.
Without the ability to see how officers perform and the types of interactions they engage in, it's always going to be a "their-word-against-ours" situation. The last thing anybody would want is for an officer to put their lives on the line and get hurt in the field -- and nobody knows what happened. It's better to act preemptively with safety in mind than to think after the fact and never know what actually occurred. The advantages of police body cameras go far beyond these points and have completely unforeseen and equally beneficial uses in any department.