All Cops Should Wear Video Cameras

CopcameraVievuThe folks over at the millennial generation news site, News.Mic are reporting on how requiring police to wear video cameras has dramatically reduced violence and complaints against cops in Rialto, California: 

Take the city of Rialto, California, for instance. In February 2012, the city's 70 police officers had to take part in a controlled study, obligating them to wear a tiny camera that filmed all their interactions with the public. The results were incredible: In the first year of the cameras' introduction, complaints against Rialto police officers fell by 88%, while use of force by officers fell by almost 60%. ...

“When you put a camera on a police officer, they tend to behave a little better, follow the rules a little better,” Rialto Police Chief William A. Farrar told the New York Times. “And if a citizen knows the officer is wearing a camera, chances are the citizen will behave a little better.”

Cities like New York, Baltimore, Fort Worth, Oakland, and the very troubled department in Albuquerque, New Mexico are now trying various pilot programs in which officers wear video cameras.

I made the case last year for mandatory cop cameras in my column, "Watched Cops Are Polite Cops." See below Reason TV's interview with Seattle ex-cop and founder of the police video company Vievu Steve Ward about the benefits of officer-worn cameras.

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    In the first year of the cameras' introduction, complaints against Rialto police officers fell by 88%, while use of force by officers fell by almost 60%...

    Sounds like those little evidence-gathering devices are putting law enforcement professionals in danger.

  • John||

    Knowing you are on camera changes how people behave. Cameras make things safer for police and non police alike. Even the drunkest, most violent asshole is likely to think twice about attacking a cop if he knows he will be filmed doing it. Also, when people realize they are being filmed, they generally will calm down.

    And of course being on film, takes all of the fun out of using your badge as a license to beat the living shit out of anyone you don't like.

  • ||

    "If the only thing keeping a person decent is the expectation of divine reward then, brother, that person is a piece of sh*t. And I'd like to get as many of them out in the open as possible. You gotta get together and tell yourself stories that violate every law of the universe just to get through the goddamn day? What's that say about your reality?"- Rust Cohle.

    I'd say the same about keeping a person decent is fear of punishment...

  • Tim||

    I'd just punch him.

  • kinnath||

    The world is full of assholes, and many of them gravitate towards jobs that let them bully other people (police, TSA, etc).

    This is not a question of whether the cops are bullies or not. It's about how to contain the bullies that clearly exist.

  • Lucky Jack||

  • you're powerfully stupid||

    And I'd point out I don't give two shakes where it comes from as long he's not killing me over a traffic stop.

  • BiMonSciFiCon||

    The host of "Split Decision" on CBS Sports Radio dedicated a segment to decrying police brutality, citing Balko's "Rise of the Warrior Cop" and many of the high profile incidents that have been reported here lately. Also he said "please stop shooting dogs at first sight" or something along those lines. I had to do a triple-take to make sure I was still on the sports channel. It was like a reverse nut punch.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    It was in response to this incident. I especially like the part where the officer commands Montgomery to keep his legs spread apart, yet keep his feet together. The cop was scared shitless. Sam Montgomery is lucky he wasn't murdered by this pussy with a badge.

  • John||

    That is just it, the cops are poorly trained, generally stupid and nearly always terrified.

  • The Last American Hero||

    No amount of training gets rid of evil.

  • Hyperion||

    On the puppycide front, here's a recent story. Too bad it's from World Nuts Daily, which is pretty much in the same realm of reality as Alex Jones. But it did get a link on Drudge.

    Puppycide in USA, every 98 minutes

  • Ron||

    has long as the cops don't use the IRS data back up system this will be great. But where did I read about the cops who were using cameras and wouldn't let anyone else see the video claiming it was under investigation by the department. Cameras are great as long as they are used.

  • The Last American Hero||

    In the age of ubiquitous cameras defense lawyers can now just say "Pics or it didn't happen".

  • Hyperion||

    This is why it's important to leave as much decision making at local and state level as possible, instead of leaving everything up to a centralized federal authority. Do the big state collectivist proggies who rule Commiefornia really think this little camera experiment would be going on if left to the feds to decide to try it?

    Even those who are almost always wrong about everything can come up with something good on occasion.

    While I hope this catches on nationally, and hope it really works long term and it is not just a fluke, there is only so much this can do. In reality, it still won't hold cops accountable for their actions. So what if they are caught on camera doing bad things? Isn't that sometimes the case and it doesn't much change the outcome. The police investigate themselves, find no wrong doing, victim sues and wins a tax payer funded settlement, and the cop goes unpunished.

    This is good as a preventative measure, but once the dog or the dogs owner, or both, or the entire family are shot dead, having that on film will rarely, if ever, see a cop punished at all.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    But the main current check on police are the threat of federal suit. Most voters in most localities share most of their local law enforcements prejudices.

  • Hyperion||

    So, most voters in most localities are in favor of cops shooting family pets on site, just because they can?

  • MegaloMonocle||

    As long as its the neighbor's dog, sure.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Do the big state collectivist proggies who rule Commiefornia really think this little camera experiment would be going on if left to the feds to decide to try it?

    Actually, it was some local PD's in California that voluntarily contacted the DOJ to do a best practices audit. Body cameras were at the top of the list of DOJ recommendations. Within two years, every LEO in the US will be wearing a camera.

    Pro tip: Buy stock in Taser.

  • sarcasmic||

    Within two years, every LEO in the US will be wearing a camera.

    Oh I highly doubt that. Not without a federal law requiring it, and even then many would refuse.

  • ||

    Nah, it's happening now. It's a badge of honor for departments now, they they are good enough to wear cameras.

    I hope it continues to gain ground.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Probably won't be federal law, but a DOJ guideline. And any LE agency that doesn't follow DOJ guidelines will be open to liability claims. Insurance companies will demand that localities put cameras on the cops.

  • Hyperion||

    I would be shocked if it's not the intention of the DOJ to protect the cops, not citizens.

    If it's the case that in 2 years all cops are wearing these cameras, I'm sure the video will always be available when the cops need it for their case, but when it's something really truly awful that the cops do, hard drives will start crashing, you know, because that's where all the tapes are stored. We've seen this before somewhere, I'm sure...

  • you're powerfully stupid||

    So, just exactly what the fuck do you want?

    This an incremental step that has proven its worth, all I see from you is cynical asshole negativism.

  • sarcasmic||

    Considering how often dashcams "malfunction" when cops beat or kill people, it wouldn't surprise me one bit if these devices come to have a high "failure" rate.

  • you're powerfully stupid||

    So, again, just exactly what the fuck do you want?

    This an incremental step that has proven its worth, all I see from you is cynical asshole negativism.

  • sarcasmic||

    You should change your handle to "I'm a bitchy bitch."

  • you're powerfully stupid||

    Tell us the same two boring ass stories about your cop encounters again sarc.

    It's not like telling them 3000 times has ever stopped you before.

  • MegaloMonocle||

    I read this as more of a call for serious presumptions/penalties whenever the video evidence is mysteriously unavailable. Something that's missing now.

  • sarcasmic||

    Hey stupid, would you like some cheese with your whine? I could scrape up some fumunda if you ask real nice.

  • you're powerfully stupid||

    The truth hurts I see.

  • sarcasmic||

    Sure, Mary. Whatever you say.

  • you're powerfully stupid||

    Big of you to admit it finally.

    Now maybe you can take you two shitty cop stories and and your otherwise useless commentary and fuck off now.

  • Mainer2||

    A new poster that knows sarcasmic has those two stories....how do he know ? Could this be Rollo ?

  • Swiss Servator, Alles Klar||

    Mary or Tulpa?

  • sarcasmic||

    Mary. Definitely Mary.

  • Bryan C||

    Well, since you ask. I want the video streamed in real-time to an archive to which the police are given strictly read-only access and which is mirrored in multiple physical locations.

    I also want all public safety radio communications to be unencrypted and archived for public access, and location metadata automatically made available after a 48 hour delay.

    Cops don't have any good reason to keep secrets from the people who employ them.

  • BigT||

    It wouldn't be difficult to have the camera output stream to the cloud. Thus no hard-drive crashes or wipes would be able to change history.

    We have the technology, folks. We just need a little creativity.

    And, of course, if/when the video is absent, then the cop gets suspended a month without pay, regardless of any other circumstances. Second offense, loses job.

  • Ron||

    I have to agree with you when you consider the recent shooting of the homeless man by cops who had cameras. so far nothing has happended to those cops and now that the protesters on on to something else we will never hear another word about it.

  • Idle Hands||

  • Hyperion||

    I see the author doesn't hesitate to throw out that old proggie stand by, another iteration of 'That old dusty thing is like 100 years old and no one can even understand it now!'

    The framers could not possibly have foreseen what the world would look like in 2014

    But the proggies are still using the same arguments they did 100 years ago, all arguments that have been discredited in the real world many times over.

  • MegaloMonocle||

    The framers could not possibly have foreseen what the world would look like in 2014

    To the extent this is true, the Framers foresaw the need for a document that could be, what's the word, "amended".

  • Anonymous Coward||

    The framers could not possibly have foreseen what the world would look like in 2014.

    Chronological snobbery is not an argument.

    we cannot keep our constitutional democracy — our republican form of government — without constitutional restraints against oligarchy and a political economy that maintains a broad middle class, accessible to everyone.

    Translation: We need a sweeping, powerful bureaucracy in place to decide who is an "oligarch" and who is "middle class" (who is a class enemy and who is not) and punish/reward them as appropriate.

  • Bryan C||

    But amendments take, like, years! And you have to get lots of people to agree with you and stuff. What sort of self-respecting monarch would put up with that sort of impertinence?

  • Idle Hands||

    Also I dare someone to come up with someone with a more punchable face than EJ Dionne. It can't be done.

  • Hyperion||

    Sure it can.

    Patrick Kennedy.

    I rest my case.

  • Idle Hands||

  • BigT||

    this calls for a punch-off!!!

    Idle - take EJD
    Hyper - take PK

    Let's get ready to ruuuuummmmmble!!

  • Lord Humungus||

    Coming soon - First POV violence pron made by cops, for cops.

  • Lucky Jack||

    Don't know about that, but this guy gives an insightful peek into downtown Hotlanta.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBcAlUdiW7E

  • kinnath||

    Just do it

  • The Late P Brooks||

    All cops should be accountable under the law for their actions, exactly as a "civilian" would be.

    I'll be over here, holding my breath.

  • Tim||

    Everyone should wear cameras- we will have utopia.

  • ||

    I am curious if this will be an end around to get a CCTV system here in the states. Instead of static locations they will be pinned to thousands of "public servants".

  • GILMORE||

    I like how the ad says, "As Tough As You Are"...

    .... and has a picture of a cop wrapped in a down-padded Kevlar Onesie with a plexiglass Shielded Helmet covered with a nice felt padded exterior (helps reduce neck strain when rocks are thrown)

    What, no *Balaclava*!? But your *complexion*, man! Plus, don't forget the kneepads. TACTICAL kneepads.

  • MegaloMonocle||

    The tagline should be: "Just as tough as your clothes."

  • ||

    A good step in teh right direction, but cops wearing cameras is no reason for citizens to stop filming them. Cop-filmed video will probably be "unavailable" or "lost" is it shows the cop in a bad light.

    And for dog's sake, use a live upload app like bambuser. My phone also automatically backs up video and images to Google Drive.

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