If you have tuned into the news lately or scanned news articles online, you may have seen something about police officers now having to wear body cameras as part of their uniform. More and more cities across the nation have released statements that Police Departments will be starting pilot programs regarding officers wearing body cameras. But what exactly are these body cameras? What’s the purpose of them and who do they benefit? Here’s the scoop on police officer body cameras.
The purpose of body cameras is that it eliminates any hearsay that can often occur. When police officer’s interactions with citizens are filmed, it allows for police supervisors, reporters and judges to get their hands on objective evidence regarding a specific incident. This is important because, before body cameras, the public only could rely on the word of the police officer or the word of the citizen being charged for a particular crime. Police officers wearing body cameras benefits everyone. Not only does it keep police officers accountable, but it also acts as a way for cities to showcase their talented police officers and how well the officers are doing on the streets. According to polls, citizens would also feel safer knowing those police officers could now be held accountable for their actions.
One of the downsides of having police officers wearing body cameras is the cost. Getting cameras for entire departments is not the most affordable thing. Especially when it is up to the city's budget to purchase the cameras, this is one of the biggest reasons for police departments putting this initiative on hold. Since this is still a relatively new change in police departments, only time will tell how many benefits will come from this initiative. However, what little research that has been done on these cameras have all been encouraging.