Glendale Police Will Soon Wear Body Cameras

Video cameras are popping up all over the place, from personal devices meant to capture the first person action of some sport or extreme event, to dashcams meant to capture the details of an accident in case fault needs to be proven, to auto back up cameras, to body cams worn by officers to help ensure transparency and a high quality police force.  The thought goes that people will always be on their best behavior when they know the camera is rolling.  With the proliferation of cameras everywhere you likely end up on film more often that you might think.

Playing along with that trend, the Glendale Police Department will soon start to use officer body cameras to record and later analyze, if needed, the actions of its officers.  The reason behind the move to body cameras is to help the department move toward the best law enforcement practices in the nation.  The hope is that body cameras will foster better behavior by both officers as well as those that are being confronted by the police.  The Glendale police department will be able to purchase the 300 body cameras through a federal grant.

Police departments all over the nation are starting to adopt officer body cameras.  Conceptually, the idea of recording the interactions that police officers have with the public seems appealing.  After all, officers who know that they are on camera may act more professionally and citizens interacting with police will know there is a video record of their actions.  Police are often accused of aggressive behavior or brutality, often with no definite proof other than the word of the victim and the officers.  Body cameras, in theory, can help with that.  The problem?  The cameras are not always rolling.  Officers need to turn the camera on in order to capture the situation.  Some studies of various police departments around the nation have shown that even when worn the cameras are less than 50% likely to actually be recording during an event.  Others studies have shown mixed results with some showing a decline in use of force and others actually showing an increase.  Despite the lack of clear studies, police forces will continue to adopt body cameras in hopes that we’ll all behave a little better when that camera is pointed in our face.

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