Police Should Wear Body Cameras When On Duty

Cameras used by police look more like a rectangular grey voice recorder than the average camera.

Photo Credit: Photo by Wikimedia Commons under the Creative Commons License.

Cameras used by police look more like a rectangular grey voice recorder than the average camera.

By: Emma Nadella, Reporter

From recent events in the past two years being highlighted about police brutality in our country, I think we should require police officers to have body cameras on themselves.

Not every cop is bad or deserves blame for what’s happened recently. However, we can start making proper steps to avoid brutality from happening. The first thing I feel we need to take is removing the uncertainty of it. There’re arguments when these events occur if it really happened or if it’s simply exaggerated. With the police cameras, however, there would be no doubt in what occurred. That said, there are benefits to having them.

A decrease in use of force

Studies have shown  they’re lower cases of police using force with body cameras. In 2013, only a third of police departments used them. Then in 2016 that number had risen to almost half around the country using them. From this, it shows that most local governments have already had them integrated into their way of daily work. Others have argued that the costs of the new technology would be difficult to do. In all fairness, the cost may vary with how many cops a station may have, but it’s still well over thousands of dollars.

An argument to the pricey body cameras was the benefit of actually having them. There’s more help to getting them, from fewer complaints towards cops and helps reduce physical altercations. The ratio between the benefits when stacked against the high costs is far more in favor of getting cameras. This also outshines the decision they wanted to make that wasn’t so expensive. Some departments just thought of getting more officers, as a way of supervising and having more help.

Useful tool for court

The body cameras on cops can also help when needing to sort out violence by some cops. For example, in the recent trial against the cop who killed George Floyd, the prosecutors could’ve used the video caught by multiple body cameras used by the police. It’s moments like those in serious trials that the videos are an immense help. If that evidence wasn’t there, the trial would’ve been difficult. Also, if someone were to have caught it all happening from their phone at a weird angle, instead of body cameras, there’d be a question about what really happened. The defense could’ve used that in their argument.

The body cameras offer the best way of knowing what happened in an incident. There’d be barely any debate about what happened. The only thing that’d prove difficult, however, is any interference. Let’s say the camera doesn’t work or doesn’t record, what then? In that case, the cameras should’ve been checked. If  police officers getting cameras did happen, I think they would be a valuable tool for them to use.