Police brutality has always been a huge problem throughout the United States. Lawmakers all over the country are searching for ways to overcome this epidemic. One of those solutions is the use of body cameras.
After months of testing, many police departments are planning on expanding the use of body cameras throughout the summer.
The benefits of these cameras include accountability, exposure of police brutality, and more evidence in the case of a lawsuit against a police officer. But those benefits are not as glorious as they seem nor do they overlook all the downsides of expanding the use of body cameras. It’s not a secret that it will cost taxpayers a lot more money, is it really worth the cost?
According to NBC, the Cleveland City Council in October approved a $1.6 million contract to buy cameras for 200 officers.
Accountability is a main reason these body cameras have been considered a possible solution. With this, we hope to decrease police brutality. Yes, it will keep the police accountable but only on some level.
First, many people think the use of body cameras will result in more exposure of police brutality, but what most people don’t realize is the release of the footage is ultimately up to the police chief and police chiefs are not going to want to make themselves look bad.
“Astoria police chief said most vendors are offering cameras that are worn on the chest that will be blocked by the officers hands in most use-of-force interactions,” according to KOIN.com.
Also, this will be a huge distraction to police officers who now will constantly be shifting their focus to using the cameras in a proper way.
“Several agencies tell KOIN 6 News that they may not have technology to support multiple body cameras that could produce hours of video. Right now, there are no clear guidelines from the State of Oregon on how long video recorded on body cameras must be kept,” according to KOIN.com.
Another big issue agencies will face is where to store all the footage and for how long to store it. Not only are the cameras themselves pricey, but also the footage is a big factor in terms of cost.
The last reason I feel this won’t work is because these cameras are attached to police uniform. Therefore, it’s a one-sided view of an interaction, doing more harm to civilians than good.
I don’t want people to get the wrong idea about body cameras, thinking they will solve all problems concerning police brutality, it won’t.