Don’t you sometimes feel a bit nervous around police? Well, in a world with body cameras you won’t have to be nervous around police at all! Police should wear body cameras at all times and they should be turned on while on duty. Body cameras prevent violence, hold officers accountable if they act inappropriate, and show the human side of policing. Here are the reasons why police should wear body cameras at all times.
The first reason why police should wear body cameras all the time is because it prevents violence. If police wore body cameras they would not be as aggressive towards suspects that they arrest. According to a study by the University of Cambridge, “When police wore body cameras while on duty there was a drop of use of force by over 50%”. This means, police will be on better behavior thus, less violent.
The second reason why police should wear body cameras all the time is because it holds police accountable if they act appropriately or inappropriately. In a court case legal professionals could use footage from a body camera to decide whether the policeman did something wrong or right in the case. According to the New York Times, “In the Ferguson case, Officer Darren Wilson fatally shot Michael Brown. Officer Wilson thought that Darren had robbed a convenience store but had no evidence”. The Department of Justice report states that it was unclear whether Wilson or Brown attacked first. Legal professionals had no footage of the shooting happening so it was hard to decide whether Wilson was innocent or guilty. This illustrates that without proper evidence it is very difficult to decide whether a police officer was acting appropriate or inappropriate. Therefore, as stated above police should wear body cameras at all times.
My final reason why police should wear body cameras all the time is because it shows the human side of policing. Footage of police activities show that police are human and not just people going around arresting people. If police wore body cameras all of the time, then people would think better things about the police. According to littlerockfamily.com, “Children in Little Rock Arkansas appreciate Officer Tommy Norman. While on duty, he stops and plays, sings, and mentors children while on his route”. Not only is he a police officer upholding the law, he is also an important member of the community. Everyday police officers put themselves at risk like when Officer Gary Michael was fatally shot in western Missouri during a normal traffic stop for speeding. If police officers wore body cameras we would see how caring they are and how they put themselves at risk for our safety.
While body cameras have many positive benefits, there are also downsides to body cameras. Body cameras might be considered an invasion of privacy, as they provide state-owned footage. When police cameras are on, they will capture everyday civilian and police behavior that does not necessarily need to be recorded. An Illinois lawsuit states that, “10 police officers claimed that their body cameras never turned off after some time and it recorded them going to the bathroom”. If body cameras are always recording they might be considered an invasion of privacy.
In addition, it may not be practical to have cameras recording and on constantly. For example, if a police officer was dealing with a difficult situation and their body camera failed they would not be able to capture the moment. If the cameras are on constantly then the cameras could run out of battery or storage space. It may not be realistic to leave the camera on because sometimes it’s not reliable.
Despite the potential problems including privacy concerns and battery and storage problems, police should wear body cameras all of the time and they should always be turned on. It will help the society when controversial cases come up having to do with the police. It will also prevent violence and people will think better of police. Even though there might be challenges in getting body cameras for police officers, it must remain a priority.