Three Reasons Police Agencies Need to Implement the Use of Body Cameras
While there has been a huge rush by police agencies across the country to purchase police body cameras for their officers, the issue has also been surrounded by quite a bit of controversy. Some people are uncomfortable with police storing videos of the public, and some even think that it will hurt the relationship between police and the citizens they protect. However, the evidence is overwhelmingly in the favor of police body cams. Some of the benefits that this technology can offer includes:
- Unbiased Evidence – One of the biggest issues in the recent case of the police shooting in Ferguson, MO was that there was no video evidence of the events that took place. This led to major controversy between the public and the police, and riots ensued. There will always be differing opinions in scenarios like this, but when there is video evidence that can provide an unbiased point of view, the truth can be seen by everyone. Police body cams can reduce the conflict that often takes place after controversial police cases.
- Increased Safety – Another major benefit of police body cams are that they can greatly increase the safety of both police officers and the public. Recording their interactions with citizens allows police officers to review these tapes and see instances in which they might have put themselves in danger. By carefully reviewing their actions, officers can adjust their behavior to create a safer situation for themselves while on the job. Body cams can also improve safety for the public, because when people know they are being recorded, they are less likely to act out, especially if it is the police recording them. This might prevent a person from shooting or hurting another person in front of the police because they know that there is evidence of their crime on tape.
- Fewer Complaints – When police wear body cameras, it has also been shown to decrease the number of complaints against police officers by the public. In 2012, a study was conducted by Cambridge University to test the effectiveness of policy body cameras. The results of the study revealed that after a year of using body cameras, complaints decreased by nearly 90%, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The study also showed that the use of police force among officers decreased by 60%.
Some police agencies may be hesitant to implement the use of body cameras among their officers, but studies have shown that this equipment has benefits for both the police and the public. In a time when the relationship between the police and the public is not faring well, body cameras can provide a solution.