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Should Police Officers Wear Body Cameras? Essay

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Should every cop have tiny video cameras? I think, they should, because you will be able to go back to the footage in case you need something to be proven. Also, to see how the problem started at first. Officers wearing tiny video cameras benefits the citizen and officers because everything is being recorded the moment you interact with them. So, when people see that your being recorded by a police officer you will know to not act crazy with them, nor will the officer act to be ‘tough’. Police body cameras can encourage people to behave better and not act crazy. Also help a decrease in violence, use of force incidents, and attacks on officers on duty

The pros police body cameras can provide voice audio and visible evidence that can be looked at by the higher ups and can confirm what happened in any kind of situation. For example, according to The New York Times ‘Police Officer Who Fatally Shot 15-Year-Old Texas Boy Is Fired in Texas’ the police officer was fired and charged with murder after body camera footage was looked at and saw that everything the officer said in his statement counter his initial statement in the shooting of the young teenage unarmed boy. Another example is in Baltimore, a police officer got suspended and two of his colleagues were placed on leave after being caught. Due to the fact, they were wearing body cameras and saw that they planted fake evidence at a crime scene. Also, the videos recorded from police body cameras could be very helpful for new recruits and used to train new and existing officers in how to perform in certain situations that they may encounter with public. Wearing body cameras can be useful for certain situations, like when they are doing the sobriety test, they won't have to take notes down while they are trying to watch the suspect. According to the book ‘Introduction to Policing’, “it's hard to write notes about a field sobriety test when you have to watch someone attempt the test and count the number of steps he or she is taking. In the past officer had to juggle a flashlight and a clipboard while never taking their eyes off he suspected drunk driver”.

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The cons of an officer not using a body camera, officers that don’t wear body cameras decrease their safety, which can really affect their mental health. Some people may respond in a bad way or even violently just because they are being recorded by a police officer. People that usually respond in a negative way are usually on drinking, using drugs or suffer from mental health problems. When a police officer is wearing body cameras, they are invading the privacy of citizens, exposing victims and witnesses that were present in a crime. Officers that are recording encounter people, which can lead to a person privacy being exposed, like medical conditions, victims of crimes such as domestic violence or even rape, people who witness something are put in fear, because the criminals might want to get revenge.

Police officers should be required to turn off their cameras off when they encounter with people that are naked. Officers wouldn’t want to look at another person's body and the higher ups wouldn’t want to look at that too. Also, officers should be allowed to turn off their cameras when the person they are interacting with gives them permission to turn off or asks them to turn it off for certain reasons. Another example is when officers should turn off their cameras is when an officer talks to a witness and the witness doesn't want to be involved or known by criminal. The witness wouldn't want be in fear after he or she just snitched everything that happen in a crime scene. According to the website FindLaw, a police officer is allowed to turn off their cameras when a “witness or victim refuses to provide a statement on camera, or if a recording would interfere with his or her ability to conduct an investigation, the officer may turn of the body cam”. Which I completely agree with because let's say you are being questioned and you say something that you were unsure about. When higher ups go to investigate and noticed that something wasn’t right. It will make you look like you’re covering up for the person and trying to throw them off. That’s why I think when your being questioned by a police officer, you should be allowed to tell them to turn their body cameras off because you don't want to be recorded end up saying something that can get you involved in the crime.

As you can see these are my thoughts about police officers using body cameras. Also, when they should be allowed or required to turn off their cameras. When officers use body cameras it benefits them in certain situations like I said sobriety test, it makes it easier for them and it allows them to stay focused on the suspect. But there should be a limit where you can record certain things and know when to know to turn off your camera. The use of body cameras is to reduce less crimes and less police abuse.

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