Watched Cops Are Polite Cops: San Diego Edition

Body-worn cameras encourage both police and citizens to behave better


Body Cameras

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that the wearing of body cameras by police in San Diego is having quite salutary effects. I mean, who knew that watching the watchers would change the behaviors of both the watchers and the watched? Well, actually I did. In any case, the LA Times reports:

The use of body cameras by San Diego police has led to fewer complaints by residents and less use of force by officers, according to a city report released Wednesday.

Complaints have fallen 40.5% and use of "personal body" force by officers has been reduced by 46.5% and use of pepper spray by 30.5%, according to the report developed by the Police Department for the City Council's Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee.

By year's end, the department plans to have nearly 1,000 officers equipped with the small cameras, including patrol officers, gang-unit officers and motorcycle officers. Currently, 600 officers have the cameras.

The report to the council is based on preliminary statistics gathered for 2014 and January 2015.

"Body-worn camera technology is a win-win for both the officer and the community," Deputy Chief David Ramirez said in the report, set to be discussed at Wednesday's meeting.

Other police departments should stop resisting cameras (here's looking at you Boston) and equip their officers as quickly as possible for both the good of the police and their communities.