Body-mounted Cameras for Law Enforcement

Some U.S. police departments are experimenting with body-mounted cameras for police officers that will record their interactions with civilians. Supporters of this new technology say that it will aid in evidence gathering at a crime scene, and it also creates a record of officers’ behavior, which would cut down on the amount of unnecessary force and abuse of power.
The obvious concern about this new law enforcement technology is privacy. Without the proper laws, recordings taken by these cameras can leave open the possibility of abuse. A law pending in Pennsylvania has its opposition. The ACLU says that it “places too much power in the hands of officers and not enough in the hands of the public.” One issue that has already arisen is that some officers turned off their cameras during a confrontation with protesters.
Having police officers wearing cameras does have some benefits, but it can also lead to some unwanted consequences. It would definitely help with prosecuting criminals if actions were caught on video. But what if civilians start wearing cameras in response to law enforcement wearing them. If they can record us, why wouldn’t we be able to do the same. I suppose that we are already doing that, in a way. Most cell phones have cameras these days. And how many videos have been taken in public and posted to this website or that one. It seems that people are having less and less privacy as technology continues advancing.

2 Responses to Body-mounted Cameras for Law Enforcement

  1. I find this post quite interesting considering that the main reason for the cameras is to provide a strictly factual account of encounters with police officers. It was meant to eliminate the opposition of the “he said she said” accounts that rule most court cases. Naturally, the main concern here is privacy because people are not sure of what is going to be done with the video footage. But most of the time if someone is pulled over by an officer, there is already a dashboard camera recording from the hood of the car. The privacy issue here deals with the specific use of the video and I believe if it is not being used with the intent to harm or embarrass someone, then it should be allowed. The second, less obvious issue here is the one that questions the moral character of police officers. The cameras would be able to record all of the officer’s actions as well as the suspect’s actions which would limit the possibility for abuse of power. But if the officer turns the camera off then there are more questions that come into play. For what reason did they turn it off? It could have been to respect the wishes of someone they are interacting with or it could have been to eliminate video evidence of abuse of power. I feel like it is a very controversial subject but overall beneficial if used in the right ways.

  2. This honestly sounds like a good idea. For starters, a camera recording at a crime scene allows for the footage to be studied and analyzed for any clues or information that might have been missed at the time. This would help move cases along and keeping a recording of any dialogue at the time could be used in a court case for or against a suspect. Also, there is a lot of distrust towards police regarding abuse of power and unnecessary force. Not only would this allow bad actions by cops to be punished, it would also discourage cops to be this way in the first place since they know that everything is being recorded. This might sound like a Big Brother kind of scenario but in the case of law enforcement, it is important that high standards are maintained and that the public has no reason to not trust the word of a law enforcement official.
    In regards to privacy, this changes nothing in reality. As said in the original post, people already record arrests or crime scenes on their phones and post to the internet. This is absolutely legal(regardless of what the officer might say) and happens very often. If anything, these cameras will allow for the cops to defend themselves if the footage is being used against them as bystanders might only record parts of the situation as compared to the cameras which would record everything.