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Analysis of Arguments on Whether Police Officers Should Wear Body Cameras

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Abstract

The essay discussed about the situation with police officers being allowed to wear body cameras, with my reasons being that it increases the safety of the public, help train future police officers, and slow down police brutality. Using reliable websites, like .org,.edu,.gov, and the South Texas College library for the academic journal, Body Cameras for Police Officers on Patrol, for the research for the essay. Having the most trouble writing this essay was trying to find the proper information to use to convince people of the understanding of the issue. The easiest part was explaining the reasons once getting the sources needed and put more details.

Introduction

Over these past few years, there have been some issues with police officers and their actions making body cameras a top priority for the police to wear. There have been incidents where the police would use unnecessary force to people, more towards the people of color. Police officers should wear body cameras because it increases their safety, train their future police officers, and slow down or stop police brutality.

The body cameras that police officers wear on their uniforms are small devices that videotape the interactions between the public and the officers. The camera consists of consumer controls which include a push to file, touch display screen controls, video, and audio feed and playback inside the field. After the officer finishes its shift the proof that the video captured is uploaded through a web-based, digital media platform where the proof can be managed.

Having body cameras can increase the safety of police officers and the people. With body cameras, it can show proof if the police officers or the person is innocent or guilty. With nobody being able to edit the footage of the camera, it can be used as evidence to determine whether they did something wrong or right. There would be incidents where police officers would falsely accuse innocent people. For example, on July 17, 2014, Eric Garner was accused of selling cigarettes without tax stamps and was later choked to death by the New York Police Department (Tsin Yen, 2017). The incident was captured by a bystander and the officer who choked Garner, Daniel Pantaleo, was fired from the job but would not face any federal charges. Along with their safety because of body cameras, people act differently when in front of a camera since they are being watched. If there is one wrong move that the individual or police officer did, the camera would capture it and would be used as evidence in court. Officers would be more polite and generous towards the people they interact with when they are on the job.

The body cameras will help train future police officers for the worst. Nowadays, police officers body cams videos have been released around social media like YouTube. Thousands of people have watched these kinds of videos online, with them having access seeing the situation a police officer would face during that time with a person. Based on the experiences police officers face, the cameras capture those moments leading to the future officers to study and be better prepared in case they face a similar situation from the videos. It will show the different kind of people future officers will meet, positive and negative citizens. Future officers will view traffic stops, shootings, DUIs, etc., and will be studying those situations to prevent them from becoming worse. Researchers have taken an interest in studying body cameras in the last 5 years and in November 2015, there were 30 and more additional studies about the officer’s behaviors as measured by complaints and their use of force.

Most people that have been killed due to police brutality are the people of color. Michael Brown and Rodney King, both African Americans, are one of the most popular cases of police brutality. Innocent lives have been killed by the police and are causing a riot among the public on how they are being killed for the way that they look. The usage of body cameras can help slow or stop police brutality making the community to feel safer. Since the body cameras are capturing the police every move, the police have to be careful of their actions, slowing down police brutality. CNA hold an experiment on 400 police officers in the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and found that “Officers with body-worn cameras generated fewer use-of-force reports and complaints from citizens compared to officers without body-worn cameras” (Chapman 2018).

In the other hand, there are people that think body cameras are not a good idea for the police officers to wear. Some people think that body cameras invade the privacy of citizens and are in fear of how the footage that the body cameras capture is used. When police introduce their body cameras to the community, people would feel uncomfortable considering that their faces is being exposed. While having their face exposed, their private conversation is as well out in the open. With the mind that it is causing privacy issues, the body cameras are violating the fourth amendment, the right to privacy. Body cameras showing privacy concerns for the people who are recorded, as the video may fall under open records statutes that would be mandatory for the footage to be released upon demand.

What this argument fails to consider is that there are laws that are in place to help protect those privacy issues. There is a law that states if a recording occurs in a private space than that recording cannot be released without the written consent of the individual. With body cameras only being used for job purposes and not filming in someone’s home, their privacy issues should not be a problem. Another mention is that body cameras have facial recognition that can help find suspects faster and identify people they will meet. Although the public concerns about their privacy is a serious argument against body cameras, body cameras are necessary to make the world a better place.

The main argument that most people opposing body cameras is because body cameras are too expensive for police departments to get. With more police officers begin to use cameras across the country, the costs related with storing all that video will increase, causing concerns. There are also some police departments that try to move away from body cameras because cameras are too expensive to maintain. Small police departments even had to get rid of their body cameras since they were struggling with not having enough money to continue paying for the cameras and managing the storage.

Although it is true that police officers are wasting a lot of money, but the costs of getting them may be worthwhile, given that the benefits outweigh the costs. Also, buying body cameras is not that expensive, however storing the data is. This issue only seems to be a big problem for the small police departments. Plus, Chaz Kelsh published an article entitled “Do body cameras change how police interact with the public?” and states that the U.S. Department of Justice announced that “It was providing $20 million in grants to help local and tribal agencies purchase and learn to use body cameras. The grants are part of President Obama’s plan to spend $75 million over three years to buy 50,000 “bod cams” for police organizations” (Kelsh 2016). Also, the article, Cost and Benefits of Body-Worn Camera Deployments, explains that “More than eight out of ten agencies took a survey where they would either strongly recommend (65.9%) or recommend (19.3%) that other agencies adopt cameras: only 4% would not recommend adopting body cameras”.

With people disagreeing about police wearing body cameras, the public and police officers being safe, future officers being able to train, and stopping police brutality is something that should happen. However, with police brutality and false accusations, the public are scared of the people trying to protect them, the police officers. Body cameras will allow the community to be safe and protected by the police officers.

References

  1. Chapman, B. (2018). Body-Worn Cameras: What the Evidence Tells Us. Retrieved from https://nij.ojp.gov/topics/articles/body-worn-cameras-what-evidence-tells-us.
  2. Cost and Benefits of Body-Worn Camera Deployments. (2018, April). Retrieved from https://www.policeforum.org/assets/BWCCostBenefit.pdf.
  3. Kelsh, C. (2016). Do body cameras change how police interact with the public? Retrieved from https://journalistsresource.org/studies/government/criminal-justice/body-cameras-police-inte.
  4. Lum, C., Stoltz, M., Koper, C. S., & Scherer, J. A. (2019). Research on body‐worn cameras. Criminology & Public Policy, 18(1), 93–118. doi: 10.1111/1745-9133.12412
  5. Tsin Yen, K. (2017). Body Cameras for Police Officers on Patrol. Salem Press Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://search-ebscohost-com.ezproxy.southtexascollege.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ers&AN=126518345&site=eds-live&scope=site

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Analysis Of Arguments On Whether Police Officers Should Wear Body Cameras. (2022, February 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved September 22, 2022, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/analysis-of-arguments-on-whether-police-officers-should-wear-body-cameras/
“Analysis Of Arguments On Whether Police Officers Should Wear Body Cameras.” GradesFixer, 10 Feb. 2022, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/analysis-of-arguments-on-whether-police-officers-should-wear-body-cameras/
Analysis Of Arguments On Whether Police Officers Should Wear Body Cameras. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/analysis-of-arguments-on-whether-police-officers-should-wear-body-cameras/> [Accessed 22 Sept. 2022].
Analysis Of Arguments On Whether Police Officers Should Wear Body Cameras [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2022 Feb 10 [cited 2022 Sept 22]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/analysis-of-arguments-on-whether-police-officers-should-wear-body-cameras/
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