Should Police Officers Wear Body Cameras?


As a taxpayer, would you support buying body cameras to be worn by police officers to record everything that transpires between them and citizens?

Many communities are considering using body cameras, especially in light of the recent happenings in Ferguson, Missouri.

Body cameras are about the size of a pager and are commonly worn as part of an officer’s uniform. They may even be mounted on helmets or possibly on new products like Google Glass. They cost about $300 to $400 per camera.

The intent behind using these tamper-proof body cameras is to provide an objective record of an encounter between an officer and a citizen.

The Wall Street Journal recently revealed that Rialto, Calif., whose entire police force has the security cameras, saw a reduction in the use of force by officers of 60%, and a whopping 88% decline in citizen complaints against police.

Many psychologists believe these declines can be attributed to a change in human behavior caused by people (both police and citizens) knowing that someone is watching them. They also believe there are less citizen complaints when there are video records of their behavior.

Most police departments equip their patrol vehicles with dashboard cameras, and have been doing so since the mid-1990s.

There are privacy concerns about using body cameras. In order to be fair, some people argue that the security cameras would need to be turned on during every encounter, and not simply at the discretion of the officer.

Do you think police officers should wear body cameras? Share with us your opinion in the comments section below this post.