User Login    
 + Register
News : Ferguson Fallout: A Call For Police Body Cams
Posted by Randy on 2014/8/22 4:02:03 (153 reads) News by the same author

NEW YORK (AP) -- What if Michael Brown's last moments had been recorded?
Click to see original Image in a new window

The fatal police shooting of the unarmed black 18-year-old in Ferguson, Missouri, is prompting calls for more officers to wear so-called body cameras, simple, lapel-mounted gadgets that capture video footage of law enforcement's interactions with the public. Proponents say the devices add a new level of accountability to police work.

"This is a technology that has a very real potential to serve as a check and balance on police power," says Jay Stanley, senior policy analyst at the American Civil Liberties Union.

The case supporters make is simple: Cops and criminal suspects alike are less likely to misbehave if they know they're being recorded. And there's some evidence supporting it. In a recent Cambridge University study, the police department in Rialto, California - a city of about 100,000- saw an 89 percent decline in the number of complaints against officers in a yearlong trial using the cameras.

The number of times the police used force against suspects also declined. After the trial, the cameras became mandatory for the department's roughly 100 officers.

Rialto isn't unique. Across the U.S. and in England, Australia, Brazil and elsewhere, a growing number of departments are implementing the cameras, in addition to - or instead of - the dashboard-mounted cameras that are already widely used in police cars. Some one in six U.S. police departments now use body cameras in some form, according to ACLU attorney Scott Greenwood.

The Los Angeles Police Department is testing the cameras and the New York City Police Department said this month that the department is exploring the feasibility of using the devices. The city's public advocate, Letitia James, has called for the cameras as a check on police misconduct following the death of a black man placed in a chokehold by a white police officer last month in Staten Island.

Cameras come with complications, however. It's unclear whether a police body camera would have altered the situation. A bystander recorded Eric Garner shouting "I can't breathe!" as police officer Daniel Pantaleo placed him in a chokehold. Garner later died. The city medical examiner ruled the death a homicide and the Staten Island District Attorney said this week that the case is going to a grand jury.

Although body cameras provide a record that courts and police can use to reconstruct events, there's no guarantee the footage will provide easy answers. There are privacy concerns for all those being recorded, whether it's the police officers, crime suspects, victims or innocent bystanders. There are also legal and procedural questions: Who gets access to the recordings? And what happens when an officer's device mysteriously malfunctions or gets turned off at an inopportune moment?

Experts including the ACLU's Stanley caution that with the gadgets must also come with well-thought-out policies, including guidelines that spell out how long recordings are kept and what to do in situations where footage goes missing.

"We live in a time when most people's reaction to any problem is `clearly, if we have an app or some sort of a digital device, that will solve the problem,'" says Neil Richards, professor of law at Washington University in St. Louis.

Richards says the notion that body cameras might solve problems of police misconduct is "naive."

"The problem is that we can't fix deep-seated social problems with a $10 gadget or with a million-dollar tank," he says.

The body cameras currently used in police work vary. They include devices that can be worn as glasses, including Google Glass, the company's $1,500 Internet-connected eyewear. But more common are the small, rectangular lapel cameras that attach to an officer's uniform and record audio and video with the touch of a button.

Taser International Inc., which says it is the largest provider of body-mounted cameras to U.S. law enforcement agencies, has seen sales of its wearable cameras increase sharply in the past year. Bookings for sales of the cameras, which cost $400 to $700 each, grew from between $1 million to $2 million in early 2013 to $11.4 million in the April-June period, says Taser CEO Rick Smith.

Taser's cameras are constantly recording, but the footage is deleted every 30 seconds unless an officer presses record. In that case, the 30 seconds before the officer hit record are kept in addition to everything else that's subsequently captured.

The recordings are stored on Taser's Evidence.com online service. Smith says the site is to the cameras what iTunes is to iPods.

"It's not the hardware that's difficult, it's how you manage the data coming out of all these devices," he says.

Brian Smith, a former police officer who is now assistant professor at the University of New Haven in Connecticut, expects that eventually every police department will use the cameras. He compares them to the now-common dashboard cameras used in police cars, which had their own supporters and skeptics when they were first introduced.

"Officers went from being suspicious of them, worried that they would get caught doing something - not terribly wrong - but (something like talking about their bosses)," Smith says. But he says they started to come around after seeing that the recordings could help prove false claims against them wrong.

"And also on the flip side, if we did have a few officers, bad apples, that did engage in misconduct, they were being recorded on camera," Smith says.

Printer Friendly Page Send this Story to a Friend Create a PDF from the article


Other articles
2015/4/21 18:08:10 - Mizzou Adds Illinois JUCO Duo To 2015-2016 Hoops Roster
2015/4/21 18:03:06 - NCMC Swept In Baseball Double-Dip At Crowder
2015/4/21 17:55:16 - Trenton's Croy Challenges Strong Helias Squad At Macon Tournament
2015/4/21 17:50:06 - LeBlond Dominates Tennis Duel At Trenton
2015/4/21 17:44:16 - NCMC Softball Seeded #4 In Region 16 Tournament
2015/4/21 9:50:00 - TMS Boys Win Brookfield Relays
2015/4/21 9:40:00 - Trenton's "City-Wide Garage Sales" Coming Saturday
2015/4/21 9:30:00 - Animal Feeding Operation Proposed In Rural Grundy County
2015/4/21 9:29:09 - New Date Set For Grundy County Murder Trial
2015/4/21 9:20:00 - Putnam County Accident Injures Lucerne Man
2015/4/21 9:13:30 - Gallatin Native Ties Masters Champion In PGA Event
2015/4/21 9:10:00 - Linn County Accident Sends Two To Columbia Hospital
2015/4/21 9:07:09 - Webb City Offensive Lineman Verbals To Mizzou
2015/4/21 8:15:57 - Royals Recall Calixte From Omaha, Demote Fuentes
2015/4/20 14:00:57 - Chillicothe Police Arrest Man On Marijuana Possession Charges
2015/4/20 11:29:17 - Speed Limit For U.S. 65 In Trenton Drops To 45 MPH
2015/4/20 9:20:54 - Motorcycle Accident Injures Minnesota Man
2015/4/20 9:17:39 - Trenton's Kasinger Places First In FFA Speaking Event, Advances To Nationals
2015/4/20 9:12:14 - Weekend Accident Injures Carrollton Teen
2015/4/17 11:00:00 - THS Senior Named Missouri's FFA President
2015/4/17 10:31:23 - NCMC Postseason Nemesis To Host National Tournament, Starting in March 2017
2015/4/17 10:30:00 - Trenton Clipped By Chariton In Tight Boys Tennis Battle
2015/4/17 10:21:00 - NCMC Pirates Blow Late-Game Lead, Swept On Thursday
2015/4/17 10:06:32 - Trenton Middle School Boys Win PC Relays
2015/4/17 9:20:00 - Trenton Girls, Brookfield Boys Win Trenton Relays Team Titles
2015/4/17 9:00:42 - Lawson Wins Cameron Golf Invitational, Trenton Sixth
2015/4/17 8:41:25 - Mizzou Basketball Signs Point Guard To '15 Class
2015/4/17 8:20:00 - Phi Mu Epsilon Hosts 90th Anniversary Party At NCMC
2015/4/17 8:10:00 - Daviess County Hosts Solid Waste Collection In May
2015/4/17 8:05:44 - Grand River Tech Organization To Host Mock Accident



Bookmark this article at these sites

                   

Listen to KTTN-FM