Police Body Cameras: Are They Necessary?

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Michael Brown. Everyone has heard this name tossed around on the news, heard the debates and the speculations of what truly happened. This unarmed African American teenager, shot and killed in a wrongful police encounter, was just one of the victims of police brutality this year. Countless other casualties have occurred as a result of similar crimes and most have one specific thing in common. The accused officers in a majority of these cases escaped with no consequences. For instance, the court dropped Michael Brown’s case after almost a year of consideration because of a lack of evidence. The responsible officer, Darren Wilson, suffered almost no repercussions. Unfortunately, stories like this are cropping up all over the country, with gruesome…show more content…
A police officer involved in an encounter with shooting or in an unusual situation might recall details inaccurately because of the adrenaline in their system during the altercation. Blame cannot be put on the police officers, as this is often done unintentionally. They cannot be expected to remember every detail of a use-of-force situation, and administering body cameras would aid in correcting any inconsistencies. Incorporating body cameras would accurately portray the events that unfolded and clear up any questions or accusations towards the police officers. Additionally, using body cameras will discourage officers from purposefully filing inaccurate reports. “The Right Body Camera Policy” further expands on this idea, stating, “In general, watching body camera footage should reduce dishonesty in incident reports. When the footage reveals unambiguous misconduct, officers would be foolish to file dishonest reports. And when the footage reveals proper behavior, officers would feel emboldened to present their actions honestly and confidently.” Officers that file false reports would face harsh consequences if the truth ever came out. Therefore, with the application of body cameras, officers would be encouraged to be accurate in their reports, as the cameras would show any inconsistencies between the officer’s story and the real story. Furthermore, keeping a…show more content…
One of the biggest concerns of police departments is the cost of implementing cameras and, more importantly, storing the video footage. According to “The Promise and Pitfalls of Cops and Cameras,” the cost of video storage could be as high as $300,000 a year, depending on the duration of time the footage is kept. Video footage is usually stored on the department server for 30-60 days, but it can be even longer if this footage is used in a criminal or disciplinary case; sometimes it is kept forever (Elinson and Frosch). That, combined with the initial cost of the cameras and the maintenance, adds up to tremendous amounts of money that some police departments are just not willing to spend. Another issue people have with body cameras is that they believe that the cameras would be a breach of privacy. Body cameras would film even the slightest of violations, such as traffic tickets, and according to “The Promise and Pitfalls of Cops and Cameras,” “the video record of their every word and action will, in many cases, be available to anyone who requests it.” This compromises people’s privacy over trivial things that do not need to be recorded in the first place. Additionally, a law has been introduced that allows police officers to film within the private dwelling of a person without requesting permission (Boone and Schneider). The law makes many
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