CJ Adv Topics
Body worn cameras have become a major topic among law enforcement officials an Civilians alike. The call for Body worn cameras has never been stronger. Recently a few tests within police departments have show promising data on the cameras, but as few point the cameras come with negative aspects as well including the storage space. I am going to discuss a few articles that example exactly where body cameras stand in today and what is likely to come in the future. In an article entitled Monitor: Denver cops failed to record many clashes with body cameras written by Noelle Phillips of The Denver Post, Noelle discusses the findings of a study done by the moniter Nick Mitchell, during the six month trial of police worn body cameras in the city of Denver. He also discusses whether they were effective or not. According to the study during the six-month trial the Denver Police Department only captured one out of four use-of-force incidents involving officers on camera. Cases where officers punched people, used pepper spray or Tasers, or struck people with batons were often not recorded because officers failed to turn on cameras, technical malfunctions occurred or because the cameras were not distributed to enough people (Phillips).
The monitor's report praises the police department for taking steps to outfit as many patrol and traffic officers with the cameras as they could but also said not enough cameras were issued supplied for the department to distribute evenly throughout the ranks. The cameras though have already proved effective in resolving citizen complaints and handling internal investigations, Mitchell wrote in the report. Though also suggests that extra training and proper tactics would help increase productivity of the cameras and reduce the number of incidents in which the camera is not turned on. Mitchell recommended that all officers who interact with the public, regardless of rank, should wear the cameras. He also said those who are working off-duty assignments and those in specialized units such as SWAT and gang units should wear cameras. It was noted that the cameras were mainly handed out to sergeants and other supervisors or officers working off-duty assignments due to the amount of cameras the department received. In the 45 incidents involving patrol officers who were on-duty, less than half of the use-of-force incidents were recorded, Mitchell said (Phillips). Four inappropriate force complaints originated from the 53 incidents, and three had body cam footage. One officer was disciplined for not turning on a camera, the report said. The cameras were very effective in this respect. After the test was over and the data was released Denver City Council approved about $1.5 million to field body cameras. Cameras are relatively inexpensive, but the storage costs can be pricey, therefore the department and the city are fielding bids from various companies to handle the storage. The issues that stemmed from the test mainly were incorrect use, human error on the officer’s end, technical malfunctions, officers not turning them, on to unusable footage. Advanced training could absolutely help correct these issues. All this issues could be improved with advanced training on the equipment, Mitchell explained, training so that officers understand the importance of activating the cameras from the beginning of any incident rather than after the incident is key. He also suggested the police department revise its policy so that footage is recorded until the conclusion of citizen encounters. Body cameras also raise privacy issues the police department current policy only has rules about filming in hospitals, locker rooms and bathrooms (Phillips). This single test in Denver raised multiple negatives and positives about body worn cameras. It’s apparent that police will need specified training on usage and care of the cameras. Though the cameras did show positive data. The…