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Officer Down

Monday, September 22, 2014

White House backs use of body cameras by police

--So, let's jump right into a little controversy. I posted this on my Facebook when I first came across it. In the wake of the officer involved shooting in Ferguson, MO there has been a lot of talk about body cameras.

I look at this way, the footage from any camera involved with law enforcement (car, pole, or body) will only give a view of a situation that may have been going on for some time before someone thought to involve the police. The video shown by these cameras usually only show the after effects of the situiation and not the situation itself. 

If we are going to place a camera on every police officer, then maybe every citizen should wear a camera so that we could see what actually precipitated the police getting involved. This way, instead of having to do any interviews or investigation the officers can simply show up, download some footage from those present and then take action based on th videos.

The answers do not lie in adding to the weight of the equipment the police already have to carry around. The answer lies in citizens learning that the United States is a Republic built on the word of law and everyone (including the police) are obligated to follow that law.--


September 16, 2014

Demands for police to wear the cameras have increased across the country since a police shooting triggered raging street protests in Ferguson
By Josh Lederman
Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Requiring police officers to wear body cameras is one potential solution for bridging deep mistrust between law enforcement and the public, the White House said, weighing in on a national debate sparked by the shooting of an unarmed black man last month in Ferguson, Missouri.

In the days and weeks after 18-year-old Michael Brown's death, more than 150,000 people took to the White House's website to sign a petition urging Obama to create and sign a law requiring all police to wear body cameras — small, lapel-mounted gadgets that record law enforcement's interactions with the public. That would require an act of Congress, but in a blog post, the White House said police departments are increasingly choosing to use the devices.
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"We support the use of cameras and video technology by law enforcement officers, and the Department of Justice continues to research best practices for implementation," Roy Austin, a White House adviser on Justice and Urban Affairs issues, wrote in response to the petition.
Austin said the Justice Department is evaluating how body cameras are working for departments already using them so they can be better deployed in the future. Yet he warned there were financial costs that "cannot be ignored," as well as unanswered questions about privacy — such as who should have access to the videos and how long they should be preserved.

An accompanying report from the Justice Department, long in the works before the Ferguson shooting, said there's evidence both police and civilians behave better when they know there are cameras around. The report also cites how footage from the cameras can be used to train officers.

But Austin warned that cameras alone can't solve the problem of mistrust. "Most Americans are law-abiding, and most law enforcement officers work hard day-in and day-out to protect and serve their communities," Austin said.

Demands for police to wear the cameras have increased across the country since Brown's death triggered raging street protests that drew the nation's focus to Ferguson. Some officers in the St. Louis suburb have since started wearing the cameras, and the New York Police department became the largest department in the U.S. to adopt the technology when it launched a pilot program in early September.