How Police Cameras Work and Why All Police Departments Should Be Using Them

in car camera systems Police agencies across the country are continuing to adopt the idea of in car camera systems and body cameras after the shooting in Ferguson, MO that caused an uproar across the country. While the incident in Ferguson has received the most media attention, there have been many instances in the past when controversial police and citizen interactions have resulted in differing accounts of what actually happened because there was no video evidence. On the other end of the spectrum, there have also been many times when a police car or body camera was present and video evidence provided an unbiased account. Either way, the implementation of video recording devices on a wide-scale basis has only recently occurred. How Do In Car Cameras and Police Body Cameras Work? Police in car camera systems can be installed right on the dashboard of a police car to allow police officers to record anything that happens from the perspective of the car. In the past, in car police cameras were mostly used in state police and highway patrol cars to record what happened during traffic stops. Currently, 72% of these vehicles are equipped with in car cameras. Now, more and more local agencies are beginning to install in car camera systems in all of their cop cars. Body cameras typically replace a piece of equipment worn by police officers, like a radio, with one that has a camera built into it. They also come in small models that can easily be attached to a helmet, glasses or the officer’s uniform. Body cameras allow a police officer to record anything they see, even if they are no longer near their car. What Are the Benefits of In Car Cameras and Police Body Cameras? There are many benefits to equipping police officers and their vehicles with body and car cameras. First, they provide an unbiased account of what actually happened. They also increase police safety. With a video recording of their interactions with civilians, officers are able to go back and review the tape to see what they might have done to put themselves in danger and can take notes on how to improve safety precautions in the future. Cameras have also been shown to increase police professionalism, decrease the incidence of police brutality and raise the level of trust in police departments by the public. In fact, a recent study of the effectiveness of body cameras in Rialto, CA revealed a significant decrease in both citizen complaints against police and the amount of force used by officers. While the use of in car camera systems and body cameras are on the rise, there are still many communities that have yet to implement these technologies. In car cameras and body cameras provide unbiased evidence, increase officer and public safety and they can help repair the damaged relationship between police agencies and the communities they protect.

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