Body-Worn Cameras: An Effective Safety Measurement for All Alexandra Alvarez University of Texas at San Antonio Abstract:
Body cameras help tremendously in convicting violent criminals, backing up an officer of untrue allegations in a court of law, and serving as hard evidence for all hearsay disagreements. On the other hand, these cameras can also be viewed as an invasion of privacy, and their problems with policy have led to public distrust.
Body-Worn Cameras: An Effective Safety Measurement for All Body-worn cameras, also known as BWCs, are an innovative, revolutionary technology used to monitor police-citizen encounters. These body-worn cameras are small devices about the size of an AA battery that is attached to an officer's uniform and used to record audio and video data. Emmeline Taylor (2016) describes BWCs by saying they are mobile and audiovisual technological advancements that expand the capabilities of policing from afar (1). BWCs are useful and effective because they are a source of hard evidence in legal matters in which an officer is accused of any sort of misconduct. Although BWCs have provoked mistrust in some citizens due to faulty policies and privacy concerns, there is real potential for these BWCs to become effective and practical for all.
In recent times the use of force and the clear line that divides a citizen's rights and an officer's right to defend themselves has been drawn into question. The footage of fatal police altercations can show the steps an officer took to eliminate all instances of danger and the officer's point of view as he had to fight for his life. Rory Miller expanded this argument in 2012 when he stated that an officer's intent is never to kill; it is to stop the threat in order to protect his life and the lives of other civilians (19). Many times these recordings show the officers warn the suspects that they will take action if they continue to pose a threat and not follow orders. This becomes a key part in solving cases where an officer is wrongfully alleged of unjustified actions. When taken to court over these false accusations, the footage from these cameras serves as hard evidence to prove the officers not guilty (Katz et al. 2014, 4). If this hard evidence is not attainable, the only thing to rely on in cases like this is hearsay argumentation. In Bakardjiev's words (2015) "Video evidence that objectively shows what happened is more persuasive, which can lead to faster guilty pleas and convictions (of either citizens or officers), thereby conserving greater resources" (2). The jury decides whether or not the lethal actions of an officer were justified, and with hard video evidence, this can expedite the process tremendously. Eventually, the hope is that courtroom proceedings will have BWC footage readily available if necessary to stop false allegations against officers altogeth...