Recent headlines in the news about police officers have been less than flattering. Police departments around the country are drawing a lot of negative press about the use of force. Despite what some in the media believe, police officers perform a dangerous, necessary but often thankless job for the community. “Protect and Serve” isn’t an empty motto; it’s what police officers do every single day. They do it because they believe in serving the community they live in. Because of this, police officers deserve the very best in equipment, training, and support — and not just from the government.
In response to controversial, high-profile cases, many police departments are adopting or planning on adopting body worn cameras for their officers. Body cameras for police record everything a police officer does while on-duty (with some exceptions). This way, any incident involving the use of force can be recorded and evaluated with better clarity as to what happened. Police departments have been using in car dash cameras for years, and with current technology police officers can now have light-weight, non-intrusive body worn cameras for when they’re on duty.
The use of in car dash cameras serves as a good example of how recording devices can help police officers with their work. Having been used by police officers since the 1990s, dash cameras are now used by 72% of state police and highway patrol cars. Their use significantly increased during the 2000s. From 2000 to 2003, the number of dash cameras for police cars increased from 3,400 to 17,500. The following year, 47 states and Washington D.C. received $21 million in federal funds in order to purchase in-car dash cameras. As a result, police departments are better able to improve safety techniques, review procedures, train officers, and improve transparency with the public. Many people nowadays hope body worn cameras can continue the tradition of innovation and transparency in police departments.