One of the toughest parts of law enforcement is that the officers needed to maintain order can’t be everywhere at once. However, fixed surveillance cameras have already proven their worth at both investigation and crime prevention. The presence of a surveillance camera in some areas, such as parking lots, for example, reduces the likelihood of crimes like theft. This is because people don’t want their actions to be captured on camera.
The reason this is such an effective deterrence is that unlike human memory, camera footage can’t be disputed. With a time/date stamp that shows the specific actions, as well as useful details on sufficiently high-resolution cameras, investigations and arrests, can be made easier.
For officers themselves, a body-worn camera offers some real advantages.
A Perfect Witness
Body-worn cameras are standard issue for many law enforcement agencies around the country, and that’s with good reason. A camera with a clear view and good audio is, in every respect, superior evidence to a human witness. Surveillance footage accurately records clothing, the color of clothing, skin color, identifying characteristics like weight, scars, visible tattoos, and even records voices.
Compared to a human witness, with fallible memory at a stressful time, this is far better information for investigation and, if need be, as evidence that can be submitted to a trial. While memory may fail, a decent quality recording secured from surveillance footage does not.
The Civilizing Effect
A significant advantage that body-worn cameras have when used by law enforcement officers is known as the “civilizing effect.” It is, sadly, a given that some people will behave in less ethical or civil ways if they believe no one is watching. This can sometimes also be true of interactions between the public and law enforcement.
When a member of the public acts in an uncooperative, aggressive, or even vulgar manner to police officers, sometimes the reason for doing is knowing that the details of the interaction boil down to “my word against yours.” These people rely on being able to manipulate facts to contradict an officer’s testimony of events.
However, when they are made aware a camera is recording the exchange, they realize now that everything is evidence. They cannot claim they acted politely and did not hit an officer when footage clearly shows the exact opposite happened. Now they can be charged with false testimony in addition to the original crime.
A Good Teacher
Body-worn cameras are also invaluable for numerous, unexpected “teachable moments.” Practice and simulation are all critical parts of law enforcement training. Still, one of the most effective teachers is practical experience. A real-world scenario, where an officer has successfully executed an action, such as de-escalating a drunk driving pullover or enacting a successful textbook arrest, on the field, with real-world conditions are important learning tools. These moments, captured on cameras, show those in training how their training is carried out in real-world scenarios.
If you’re interested in finding more about body-worn cameras or other security features, we can help. Contact Supercircuits, and we look at your situation and a solution.