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Cameras Equal Change

In: Business and Management

Submitted By kmcgee22
Words 781
Pages 4
Cameras Equal Change
Keenan McGee
COMM/215
December 15th, 2014
Amanda McClure

Cameras Equal Change
Every year there are hundreds of men and young men being profiled or targeted by overzealous police officers resulting in the deaths of multiple black youth. While some act unlawfully, there are some that do uphold the law. In light of recent deaths of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, Eric Garner in New York City, twelve year old Tamir Rice also in New York and John Crawford, III in an Ohio Wal-Mart all with no indictments issued, police have to find a way to regain the public’s trust. I believe body cameras and an outside agency monitoring these cameras could change the way police officers approach every stop and interaction they have with a citizen. In this writing my goal is to point out how police officers can bring about change by wearing body cameras while on duty as a mandatory part of their uniform. A national debate has already started to show instances where cameras could have played a vital role in making sure the officer of the law was upholding the law and not acting out on racially charged behavior.
While some people support the idea of body cameras there are those that oppose the idea. Both the public and the police would benefit from using them. For now let’s look at potential drawbacks of using them and why some parties are opposed to them. There could be policies put in place that violate the privacy of police officers and the public. There are arguments that say a officers day to day work can be affected to the extent that an informant could decide not to talk to a officer who is wearing a body camera because they do not want to be on camera that could make it hard for police to track down a suspect. Then there is the issue of people having a problem with everything they do being recorded because there is an officer present, even in public settings, the scope broadens when you take into account an officer being called to someone’s home and the camera is rolling, then you have to deal with what could be a clear violation of their right to privacy on their private property.
Let’s look at the case of Officer Darren Wilson and Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. There were several “witnesses” to what happened and then there is Officer Wilson’s account to what happened. Unfortunately, the only definite thing in the case is that an unarmed young man lost his life. By Officer Wilson’s account he acted within the law and felt his life was in danger. Witnesses say otherwise. This is where a body camera could have meant life or death, indictment or no indictment. As there would not have been two different accounts, there would only be what the camera captured. Point being, an officer wearing a body camera captures actual footage.
Body cameras have been proven to change the behavior of officers when they have to confront a suspect. Lieutenant Harold Rankin, who oversaw the body-warn camera program in Mesa, Arizona stated, “Anytime you know you’re being recorded, it’s going to have an impact on your behavior. When our officers encounter a confrontational situation, they’ll tell the person that the camera is running. That’s often enough to deescalate the situation.” Police executives report that wearing the has increased the professionalism among their officers. Chief Superintendent Cullen of New South Wales stated,” After testing out body worn cameras, the overwhelming response from officers was that the cameras increased their professionalism because they knew that everything they said and did was being recorded.”
One last point in closing, the need for this change is so recognized that President Obama has even addressed this and proposed to congress federal spending totaling three hundred sixty three million to increase the use of body worn cameras by police officers, this will expand police training and give seventy five million directly for small lapel mounted body cameras, even the white house believes that body cameras could help fix the far gone mistrust between the public and law enforcement officials, it is also thought to resolve notable issues like the one in Ferguson and other parts of the country where disputes on what really happened have arose between police officers and witnesses.

References
German, L. (2014). Vox. Retrieved from http://www.vox.com/2014/9/17/6113045/police-worn-body-cameras-explained justice.gov. . Retrieved from http://www.justice.gov/iso/opa/resources/472014912134715246869.pdf
Daily News. (2014). Retrieved from http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/obama-hold-white-house-meetings-ferguson-article-1.2028770…...

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