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Body Cameras & Their Importance

A lot has been taking place in our society between officers (mainly Caucasian) and

citizens (mainly African Americans). Many of these cases lack valuable evidence which causes a

lot of suspicion and accusations that are usually false. Tensions are rising, which is resulting in

more discrimination, racial profiling, and even more racial issues overall. The introduction of

body cameras to officers in each state would help substantially. ​Police should be required to

wear body cameras because they provide valuable evidence in cases, protect both the

citizens and the officers, and the cameras being present influences their behavior.

If all officers were required to wear body cameras, gathering and providing evidence

would be much easier. Anything that transpired between the officers and citizens would have

proof because of the available recordings. Officer’s interactions with citizens will be accurately

captured, filling in gaps for any unknown information (“Public Policy Center”). Many cops are

accused of domestic violence, so evidence will be provided, proving the allegations to be true or

false. False allegations will decrease drastically if body cameras are involved, therefore all

officers should be required to wear body cameras, which could help them a lot and make their

jobs easier.​ This is a factor in claims being supported.

An example where body cameras would have been useful is in the case where Oscar

Grant was killed on New Years

By officers wearing body cameras, any claim that is stated could be backed up by the

camera footage. These cameras are recommended to reduce​ police misconduct. “Body cameras

footage has been proved valuable in investigations into police misconduct.”(Feeney) Overall,
they are proven to be beneficial. This provides evidence to back up and support either or both

sides of an argument. These cameras are helpful especially when officers are put in difficult and

intense situations by showing what causes certain actions to be made.

Videos provide hard evidence of decisions made by officers and/or citizens in intense

situations. Public trust in the police is at its lowest point in decades, mainly because of certain

situations that occurred between officers and citizens. Body camera footage could help exonerate

police officers of crimes and improve their reputations in the community’s point of view. “In a

sign that body cameras may not just be a tool to expose police wrongdoings, footage from March

was made public last week a day after a grand jury ruled that the officer’s use of force was not

justified” (“The Christian Science Monitor”). Evidence from the march case justifies why the

officer acted as he did in the position he was in. This shows that the videos do provide useful

evidence to help in cases. Not only citizens benefit from body cameras.

The graph above explains how much or how little the three different races support the

proposal of introducing body cameras to officers uniforms. Whether they support it strongly,

support it somewhat, oppose it somewhat, oppose it strongly, or not sure. About 55% of whites,
68% of blacks, and 62% of Hispanics support it. About 35% of whites, 18% of blacks, and 22%

of Hispanics support somewhat. About 5% of whites, 6% of blacks, and 10% of Hispanics

oppose somewhat. About 5% of whites, 10% of blacks, and 8% of Hispanics are not sure. About

2% of whites, 1% of blacks, and 1% of Hispanics oppose strongly.

Officers and citizens will be protected by body cameras because recorded evidence

refutes false claims of abuse and misconduct. Complaints will be decreased and evidence

collected will be improved. “Many agencies, according to the report, found that officers with a

history of complaints are the ones eager to request body cameras. Many of them know it’s not

their own behavior that generates complaints, but because their position or jurisdiction yields

frequent contact with criminal suspects, and a camera is a useful tool in protecting them.”(“Body

Worn Video Steering Group”) This quote exemplifies how citizens and officers, officers, in this

case, will be protected by body cameras.These cameras provide us with proof, showing what

actually occurred, that nothing false will be stated or what’s stated would be backed up. This is

another way they are useful, facts are involved instead of going off of just claims.

Body cameras show both sides of stories from both the police and the citizens. Given

widespread belief, some type of body-worn camera will become a part of police’s toolkits. “It

usually takes a high profile incident like a police shooting, and unlawful arrest, public spectacle

or alleged abuse of power or a lower profile he-said-she-said case that prompts that sort of fact

finding mission and that’s precisely where body worn cameras are useful for public

safety.”(“BMP pro”) Many cameras lack needed evidence that will make the cases easier to

solve. Body cameras will help both sides of an altercation be shown, instead of going off of

accusations that are possibly false.


Body cameras being put into action will influence the behavior and actions of the officers

and citizens. Justice found that officers and citizens, both act in a more positive manner when

they are aware that a camera is present. “Some police should wear video cameras to document

interactions with suspects.”(Griggs) If officers and citizens know they’ll be recorded, there

would be a shift in their behavior because they know there is documented proof of the

interaction. The interactions will be documented by the body cameras showing exactly what

transpired between both parties. This will decrease false accusations and increasing

accountability.

Less violence and complaints will occur if officers were to indulge in the use of body

cameras. Researchers at the University of Cambridge, RAND Europe, and officers say the body

cameras decrease the number of complaints made about police. “A growing body of evidence

suggests that the gadgets improve the behavior of both cops and those they deal with.”(“The

Economic Explains”) The behavior of cops and citizens are suggested to improve. The behaviors

of them will improve predominantly because cameras are involved. Both officers and citizens

will most likely take ownership in their actions.

Accountability will increase when body cameras are involved, proving cameras to be a

useful resource. When officers didn’t wear body cameras situations differed from when they did

wear the cameras. “When officers wore body cameras, almost every physical incident was

caused by a citizen. When officers didn’t wear cameras, 29% of incidents with physical force

were caused by the officers.” (Americas Quarterly) The officer’s and the citizen’s actions will

either be proved or disproved because the cameras will be providing the evidence so that it could

be proven. Accountability will increase because while using cameras, they can’t lie or contradict
the claims of the opposite side because the video has the proof. These are reasons why and how,

body cameras will be useful in our society, even though many others don’t agree

Many sources contradict my position on police wearing body cameras. They often believe that

officers wearing body cameras are a form of invading the citizens and officer’s privacy. “Privacy

issues are of concern for both cops and civilians. How to deal with those concerns is still being

evaluated.” Their privacy might be affected, but overall it’s to protect them by providing

evidence to support their claims and provide facts in their case. Therefore, body cameras are

more useful to officers and citizens than it is hurtful.

Others also believe that those body cameras are too expensive. The cost to get the device

and keep it properly functioning and the cost of storing the footage is said to be an issue in

prices. Costs would be associated with cataloging and retrieving footage in response to public

information requests and investigations. The government spends millions of dollars on things

that aren’t helping our society, this is just an excuse. The pros outweigh the cons when

comparing the advantages and disadvantages, body cameras will have a more positive impact on

our society as a whole, then as it would negative.

Studies show that police killed at least 102 black people in 2015, 1 and 3 were unarmed.

37% of unarmed people killed were black, keeping in mind that blacks only make up 13% of the

population. Unarmed blacks were killed 5x as more as unarmed whites. I received this

information came from the website “Mapping Police Violence. Many of these cases may not

have been based on racial issues, but these are the statistics.

Overall, police wearing body cameras will have a prodigious impact on our entire

society. These cameras will be beneficial in many cases by helping bring justice and proof.
Police and residents will be better protected and their behavior as a whole will be influenced.

Body cameras also provide African Americans with assurance because many are often scared for

themselves, their sons, brothers, and their family as a whole. Being black they often feel

threatened and that they are the main victims of police misconduct. With body cameras, African

Americans and many other races will feel much safer in the care of an officer and /or in

situations where officers are involved. The officer would also feel safe because she/he wouldn’t

be a victim of false accusations if they are they would have evidence. These cameras also show

the human side of policing, proving that a lot of these officers aren’t bad. Without these cameras,

tensions will continue to habitually rise between mainly blacks and whites, other races as well,

causing self-segregation and more hatred, ignorance, and racism in our society, which has been

getting worse frequently. Furthermore, police implementing body cameras in their work will be

convenient in our society, bringing people together and protecting them.

Works Cited

“Why the police wear body cameras.” The economist. The economist Newspaper, 19

Oct.2016.web.06 Mar.2018

“Police Body Cameras.” Police Misconduct. N.P., 22 July 2015.web.06 Mar. 2018.

“Equip police officers from false accusations of misconduct and protect the public from

unreasonable uses of force. “Texas criminal Justice coalition Public policy center.N.P

Mar.2018

“Body cameras expose police misconduct while also uncovering false accusations - The

buffalo news.n.p., 02 Aug.2015.web.08 Mar.2018


“Griggs, CNN Brandon. “Should cops wear cameras?” CNN.n.p.,02 Jan.2015.web.08

Mar.2018

“American quarterly.”Will the widespread use of body cameras improve police

accountability? Yes.” Americas Quarterly.n.p.,n.d.web.10 Mar.2018

Admin by. “5 unique benefits of body cameras - Body worn video steering group. “Body

worn

video steering group.n.p.,22 June.2015.web.12 Mar.2018

“Cleveland case shows how body cameras can help police (video). The christian science

monitor. The christian science monitor, 13 oct.2015.web.19 Mar.2018

“Police body cameras a useful public safety tool. “BMPpro.n.p.n.d.web.20 Mar