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What You Need To Know About Body Worn Cameras for Police

These days, security cameras are very common and proving their benefit to safety and solving crimes. It’s no surprise that pilot programs for wearable security cameras are being conducted within the law enforcement field. Locally, LAPD officers are testing on-body cameras for durability and quality. If all goes well, the best device will be chosen and policies for when and where recordings will be permitted will be in place by the end of the year.

The goal of these cameras is to provide safety for our officers as well as the general public. Footage from these cameras will serve as evidence in criminal cases, pushing officers and suspects to take responsibility for their actions.

Too often, officers are accused of using excessive force or brutality. With the body worn cameras, officers will be more aware of their behavior since both sides of the interaction will be recorded. Footage of the incident could be compared to police reports and testimony, helping to prove who should be held accountable. Any suspicious behavior on the officer’s part, such as missing footage, would be investigated and those involved would be punished accordingly.

While these body worn cameras provide safety from officers, they also protect the officers from the public. During trial runs, officers have reported that informing citizens that they’re being recorded have de-escalated intense situations. The mere presence of these cameras can dictate behavior, let alone knowing your actions are being recorded.

Potential problems and concerns that arise are the determination of when the cameras should be turned on and what they should be recording. To keep the cameras on continuously would be a waste of power and potentially impose on privacy rights. However, remembering to turn the camera on and off can cause a distraction and possibly compromise safety. Aside from that, should officers have access to their footage? Some believe that gaining access to the footage will allow officers to tailor their reports to what is recorded.

A few kinks need to be ironed out, but feedback from pilot programs lead us to believe that widespread use of body worn cameras is on the horizon. Do you believe these cameras will help keep everyone safe? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or Pinterest.

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