Exploring 3 Complex Advantages Of Police Body Cams

body cams As of March 2015, about one-third of the 18,000 police departments in the U.S. were using body cameras, and the adoption rate has only grown in the years since. By now, most law enforcement officers understand that police body cameras improve accountability, limit the use of excess force, and prevent false claims against police officers. In fact, in a recent Pew Research Center survey, 50% of officers said that body cameras would make police more likely to act appropriately. But accountability is far from the only benefit that police body cams provide. Here are a few of the more complex advantages of police body cams.

Assistance of Existing Consent Decrees

Many civil rights divisions have spoken out regarding the belief that body cams are a major benefit for consent decrees and officers involved in external investigations. In some cases, body cameras can help police departments become autonomous agencies once again. “We want to get police departments out from under consent decrees as soon as possible,” said Roy Austin, U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division deputy assistant attorney general. “What is important is whether you can show that your officers are engaged in constitutional policing on a regular basis.”

Providing of Evidence

In one study, criminal cases that involved evidence from body worn police cameras were 70-80% more likely to result in guilty plea and a speedy resolution. Specifically, domestic violence cases are notoriously difficult to prosecute, and body cams can help collect verbal evidence during the initial intervention. The footage can also show the victim’s injuries, attitude, and instantaneous reactions. This means that even if the victim later decides not to press charges, the police can pursue the case and prosecution themselves.

Correction of Questionable Conduct

Finally, body cameras help police to implement and improve training procedures within their individual department. This isn’t about accountability so much as it is improving officer training. Many departments have collected body cam footage and noticed upon review that there is a consistent error in how officers are responding to certain situations. Too often, these errors can expose police departments to incredible legal risk, but body worn cameras give leaders the chance to intervene before complaints are filed. By reviewing footage of everyday police interactions, any misconduct can be quickly corrected with subsequent training sessions. Ultimately, understanding the more complex benefits of police body cams can help your department take maximum advantage of all the technology has to offer. For more information about police body camera statistics, contact 10-8 Video.

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