Police, technology and bodycams


But others question the efficacy of cameras. After all, the shocking
video of police brutality in cases like Eric Garner’s have surely helped
spark public protest—but didn’t discourage the actual conduct.

True, but this is surely in part because recordings of police are haphazard rather than ubiquitous. There was video of Garner’s murder because someone with a cell phone happened to take the time to record it. There was no such video of the events in Ferguson.

What seems to changed the behavior of cops in places that have instituted bodycams is the ubiquity of it the recording – the assumption by the police officers that they are being recorded at all times.


Not one of the objections here cannot be solved.

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What happened to the citations of the various municipalities that have implemented bodycams for their police forces, and seen complaints against the police and use of force incidents by the police decline precipitously?

It’s an utter travesty that the grand jury failed to indict in Eric Garner’s case, but let’s not abandon the notion of cameras because they failed this one time to deliver the results we hoped for and expected.


Some good news.
“Cop Finally Fired After Refusing to Turn on Body Camera When He Shot Woman”


“Cameras have issues with battery life, and have “shown themselves highly likely to malfunction during crucial incidents—or fall off, or be left behind or not turned on, despite policies which require officers to wear them and activate them during stops and other encounters.”

The solution to this is easy:
left camera behind - dock one day’s pay
forgot to charge the batteries - dock one day’s pay

I believe the cops would start obeying the regulations concerning cameras.


The on/off switch on the camera could be labeled “good cop”/“bad cop”.


He seems like a real prince…

…of darkness.

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There is also surely an issue of camera ubiquity.

When one officers camera fails, well stuff happens. When four officers are there and somehow none of their cameras are working… it stops looking like a coincidence (provided the things usually work).

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There is another essential step to making the cameras work: any extra powers granted to police must be tied to to the presence of a working camera. In particular, arrest powers and submiting evidence must not be allowed if a camera recording isn’t also submitted at the same time. No video of the incident to submit when you arrest someone? It’s false arrerst.

Any camera is ok - as long as one officer (or security camera, or dashboard camera, etc) captured the arrest-in-progress, then that can count. Additionally, a judge can allow for extenuating cirumstances and “acts of god” in the usual manner. What doesn’t count is “forgetting” the camera or “losing” the footage.

While this is not a perfect solution, it would certainly be a good start. It would easily fix some othe more obvious abuses. Also, I believe any technological issues will quickily fix themselves, as departments start to realize the kind of hardware they need to buy. I’m sure the lesson about “backups” will be larned quickly.


They’re better than nothing… albeit not much better, given that even with absolutely perfect video evidence, they refused to indict in the case of Eric Garner.

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