“Any officer who is doing the right thing on a daily basis would want to have a camera on them”

“Any officer who is doing the right thing on a daily basis would want to have a camera on them” (Commander Chris Peters, Parker Police Department).
On August 9, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri, a young African American man named Michael Brown was walking with a friend down his neighborhood street when a police officer on patrol intercepted them after receiving a call about a robbery that took place nearby. The situation led up to the officer shooting unarmed Michael Brown who would eventually pass away from his wounds. The police officer had no body camera. This event led to revolts and protests around the world against police officer and how they handle situations. Tom Jackson, the Police Chief of Ferguson, Missouri said, “Body cameras would have made a difference in the investigation of Brown’s shooting.” President Barrack Obama responded by issuing a plead for officers to use body worn cameras on December 2, 2014. Saying, “This is not a problem just of Ferguson, Missouri. This is a national problem.” After his response, it was granted that some police stations would be provided with cameras and training from the government. Recently on the news, we have seen how video evidence provides us the inside story. Unfortunately, not all officers have the privilege of owning a body camera. Body cameras must be provided to all officers serving in our community so that they can wear the cameras and help provide a safer environment.
Body cameras have been shown to provide solid evidence in defending or prosecuting. Body cameras allow the jury to view the entire story without their being any tampering of the evidence. A body camera can help prove both sides of the story. Some citizens though, believe that a body camera is an invasion to their personal privacy and can reveal their everyday lives. Body cameras also come with a high price. But, body cameras are vital in the police force.
The recent events that have been televised show the urgency on the matter. School shootings, suicide attacks, and terror threats are real. Police officers all need to have body cameras for four reasons: Body cameras provide truthful evidence in juridical cases, Body cameras reduce crime rate, Body cameras are better than other recording devices, and body camera footage can be used for training purposes for officers.
The first reason why Officers should have body cameras is body cameras can provide truthful evidence in judicial cases. When an officer turns their camera on they are recording everything. The cameras record every movement, every word, and every action that a cop or a citizen does. Before body cameras, juries had to go off evidence or an eye witnesses account of what happened. The problem with this is that evidence can be tampered with or the eye witnesses will lie. The body cameras hold everyone accountable for what everyone does. On October 20, 2014 a New Mexico police officer was arresting a woman who was convicted of drinking under the influence. After being apprehend, the woman told the police that she was sexually assaulted by the officer and wanted to file against him. The officer on call who had a police body camera on showed the footage that revealed that her account was not truthful and that he handled the situation in an orderly process. Without the body camera, the officer could have been facing serious years in prison for something he never did. Another example is the reaction of a couple who lost their two-month-old. An officer recorded the incident of trying to rescue the baby girl. After declaring she was dead, the officer then went to tell the parents who had different reactions. The mother was seen grieving and screaming while the father was saying, “Oh my god.” During trial, the officer pointed out that the reaction from the father was not as real. The jury using the camera evidence, concluded that the father was guilty. The father was convicted of killing the baby girl and was sentenced. Body cameras give the jury the upper hand of knowing that the footage is truthful and not tampered with. With this knowledge, they can decide the verdicts better.
The second reason why officers should have body cameras is that body cameras are being proven to help reduce crime rate. A police officer officers’ oath is to help serve his or her community to the best of their ability and to protect it. Police officers risk their lives every day. From the year 2014 to 2018 more than 715 police officers have been killed in the line of duty (Officer Down Memorial Page). We need better safety for our officers and body cameras have shown reduction in crime. Rory Caroll who is a reporter for The Guardian, a news station in California published an article entitled, “California police use of body cameras cuts violence and complaints.” Carroll’s report was based off the study in 2012 in Rialto, California, where officers were given cameras to see if cameras play a vital role in the community. The evidence gathered in Rialto, showed that, “Public complaints plunged 88% and officers use of force fell by 60%.” Cambridge University also did a study to investigate if body cameras proved to be affective against crime. The study was tested with officers in the UK and in the California coast.

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