In 2017, 1,129 people were killed by police, and only 12 officers, (1%), were charged with a crime related to a shooting death. Out of these 1,129 people killed, 718 people were suspects in nonviolent offenses. Police need body cameras so we can charge them for what they have actually done. All police officers should wear body cameras because they can be used to train younger police, police complaints drop, and it will provide evidence of misconduct that can be used by investigators and lawyers.
When police wear body cameras, younger policemen and women can use the footage for training. When younger police are in training, they can use the footage to become better at their job. In the popular newspaper, “The Economist”, it states, “The footage can be used in training officers that need to learn from their superiors’ actions”. This, in theory, can help with police misconduct. When a new officer joins or is starting to train to get into the force, footage can help. They can look at what past police officers have done and how they have acted in certain situations and figure out how to handle that situation (“Why the police should wear body cameras”). Also, if something was to happen and people in the force failed to do something, they could look at the footage and see what went wrong and correct their mistakes. When an entire police force fails a task, you will need a way to show what they did wrong. You can take this footage, show the force, and train them to not do it again. This is a lot like when someone messes up a play in football. Rather than not correct it, the coach will take the game film, show the team, and then proceed to practice to make sure that that thing that went wrong never happens again (“Why the police should wear body cameras”). So in theory, people can use footage for training and to become better at their job.
Police cameras should also be mandatory because it will drop police misconduct reports. When given cameras, police will most of the time act better. In the news site “The Economist”, it states that some 2,000 officers were given cameras while on the job. During this time, the number of police complaints dropped by 93%. When police use these cameras, it is a proven fact that the police complaints drop. Police will act better because they know that if they were to do something wrong, they would have footage of it (“Why the police should wear body cameras”). This will also begin to stop police brutality and save lives. Wearing these cameras will also save lives and stop brutality. These cameras will be on the officers at all times which means they know they are being monitored. This will cause them to act better towards people. Cameras will be a guaranteed way to stop most police misconduct and brutality (“Why the police should wear body cameras”).
These cameras can also be used as evidence for investigators to use. It will provide evidence of misconduct for lawyers and police investigators to look at. The “NYC Civilian Complaint Review Board” reviews almost 5,000 cases of misconduct every year. Many of these cases were recorded by diverse sources like surveillance cameras and cell phones. Only in rare cases do any sort of body cameras record these because not many officers at all have these. This footage could really help investigators see what happened in a case of misconduct (Maya Wiley, Time). In cases where police wear body cameras, the police have mostly gotten charged for their crime. In Balch Springs, Texas, 15-year-old Jordan Edwards was shot and killed as his car was driving away. This officer had a body camera on at the time of him shooting the young man. The police department had the video that showed what happened was inconsistent with the officer’s statement about what had happened. Thanks to body cameras, three days after Jordan has killed the officer who shot him has been incarcerated. These cameras didn’t save Jordan’s life but it brought justice for the family as the officer was charged with the crime he had committed (Maya Wiley, Time).
Police officers should always be required to wear body cameras. This is very important because we need to see what the police are doing to people and bring justice if needed. These cameras will save lives and cause police to act better when on the job as they see that are being monitored. When a police officer wears a camera and commits a crime, investigators will have evidence of what they have done and it will be easy to handle the situation as it was in the case with Jordan. Cameras are very important and they can help police officers and our lives as well.
- Wiley, Maya. “Police Brutality: Body Cameras Help Citizens and Police.” Time, Time, 9 May 2017, time.com/4771417/jordan-edwards-body-cameras-police/
- J.D. “Why the Police Should Wear Body Cameras.” The Economist, The Economist Newspaper, 19 Oct. 2016, www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2016/10/economist-explains-10.