EFFECTIVENESS OF BODY CAMERAS ON POLICE LEADERSHIP AND ACCOUNTABILITY.
Body cameras have almost no impact on police work as of latest study research by leading experts indicate. However, that is not entirely true. Other researchers have weighed well, evaluated and came up with quite several impacts of body cameras on policing.
Body cameras worn by the police are meant to increase accountability, transparency and trust and it may as well have accomplished that as the footage from this camera have been used to act against police officers killing innocent civilians claiming they were armed and dangerous. A good example is University of Cincinnati. An officer of the law was caught through his own body camera for murder of an innocent, unarmed civilian.
Reduced public complains
Body cameras has also reduced officer use of force on citizens which in turn has drastically reduced citizen complains and other negative outcomes of that accompanies brutality by the police including rioting and protests among civilians as witnessed in the previous years. This has improved police-civilian relationship which for a very long time been in shatters hence reducing crime rates as civilians are now more cooperative with the police then they were earlier.
Consequences of the police-worn body camera
Besides improving transparency, trust and accountability in the police department, police-worn body cameras has a lot of cons especially those associated with modern technology. These cons include;
· Increased cost of storing the footage from the camera.
· Inability of the public to access the footage.
· Interference of people’s privacy including the police themselves.
· The schedule to turn of and on the camera is also a rising issue.
Its common sense that police should keep their body cameras on throughout the entire duty-time, this means that the footage has to be stored for the entire time raising the issue of cost of storage. This issue does not necessarily affect police trust, accountability and transparency directly, but there is a relation in that running out of space means the footage from the camera is lost meaning the officers can get away with whatever law they violated during the “blackout”.
The issue of public inability to see the footage means the footage can be tampered with without their knowledge. Interference of people’s privacy though not a complain have been heard is yet an issue of concern. When and where the camera should be turned on is an issue of interest especially when officers are visiting private properties. Also, the ability of the police to turn on and off the camera as they wish does not speak much about the transparency and accountability which was its original function.
In conclusion, there are other rising consequences of police body cameras due to the advancing technology. Several questions have risen in the recent past about the use of body cameras by officers of the law. These questions include;
· How often can a camera recording misinterpret what actually took place in a crime scene?
· Is the public comfortable with police using body cameras? i.e. recording of every single thing they do around the police.
· What are the measures put in place to protect the civilians from bullying that may arise incase someone hacks the cameras and use them for personal issues through facial recognition?
The question that everyone should be asking themselves is, beyond fostering transparency and trust, how will the footage be analyzed to improve police work? Needless to say, there are a lot of issues that are yet to come as technological expansion never ceases.