Why Body Cams Help the Police Force and Citizens
It can be an unfortunate part of being an American citizen: A rude encounter with a police officer. These interactions can happen regardless of age or ethnicity and when they happen, it’s often difficult to have the complaint dealt with, as there is no visual or audio evidence.
Fortunately, that is now changing with the greater use of a body camera. As of March 2015, about one-third of police departments in the U.S. were using body cameras. And the effects are starting to be understood.
- In Rialto, California, the police department reported a 60% drop in use of force by officers.
- A 2015 study showed that police officers wearing cameras were 25.2% more likely to consider the devices helpful during interactions with the public.
- And according to a recent study, police equipped with body cameras received 93% fewer complaints from the public.
Pew Research has researched the topic further, finding that 50% of police officers saying that body cameras would make police more likely to act appropriately, and that 66% of officers and 93% of the public favor the use of body cameras by officers to record interactions with citizens.
Even more so, devices are being implemented that go beyond the standard police body cam. Police car video cameras, the police dash camera system, the in car police video systems, and the police car camera, are all being used to record interactions with citizens and to provide both sides with an opportunity to interact in a courteous and more effective manner.
A newer model of the body camera is one that is less for police and more for those the police communicate with. Body cameras for civilians are becoming more prevalent as those citizens who interact with police want their own proof of the interaction without it being put in the police officer’s or police department’s control.
Body cameras for civilians can come in different models and in different price points, but the effect is that body cameras for civilians can help monitor interactions with the police and give individuals an opportunity to present their side of the interaction while allowing the police to retain theirs.
The benefits of body cameras for civilians is that the individual can record the interaction and if a police officer seems to act in a way that is unprofessional, that video evidence can be used within a police department or larger scale to show their side of the story.
Body cameras, whether for police use or citizen use, can have a marketed effect on the interactions between the police officers and the civilians. As shown in numerous studies, these body cameras can aid the interaction between civilians and police officers, allowing for better relationships within the community, and can even reduce the use of force in some departments.
While some police officers may feel that body cameras have added constraints to the police force, they can prove an added benefit.