Strained police-community relationships are in much need of mending. Instances of police violence toward minorities sparked nationwide protests and a call for better transparency and accountability in the police force through body-worn cameras. Opponents of body-worn cameras, in contrast, argue that recordings will not reduce instances of police violence. However, body-worn cameras have another, equally important role to play in society, and that is to help increase public trust in the police.
How can body-worn cameras increase public trust in police officers?
• Body-worn cameras provide evidence to settle contradicting claims
Body camera footage can help shed light on contradicting claims. Body-worn cameras have saved police officers from either serious disciplinary action or charges. They have helped bring either a suspect or a transgressing police officer to justice by revealing the truth. For the best officers, footage can be evidence of professionalism. Overall, body-worn cameras can improve the image of the police in the eyes of their community.
• Body-worn cameras encourage better behavior
People in general act more carefully when they know they know they are being watched or recorded. This fact goes both ways. Citizens are more likely to be more compliant when they are aware that they are being recorded. Situations are less likely to escalate to a level that needs force. So, encounters between police and citizens have an opportunity to improve.
• Body-worn cameras make citizens feel safer
Police body-worn cameras also improve citizens’ perception of encounters. Penn State Harrisburg or Pennsylvania’s survey in 2017 revealed that 88% of respondents feel safer around a police officer if the latter were wearing a bodycam. With the presence of bodycams, more citizens can come out of encounters with positive feelings instead of fear.
• Body-worn cameras can help improve policing strategies
Clearer body camera footage can pave the way for better policing strategies, too. With better footage, executives and trainers can better assess police officers’ behavior and activities. In turn, they can implement more comprehensive training and strategies that will equip officers to handle all types of situations.
Better policing with better body cameras
Police officers operate in fast-paced, high-pressure environments, so errors are inevitable. Through no fault of these police officers, there are also some loopholes in the daily usage of body cameras. There are instances when police officers forget to turn on cameras in responding to situations or forget to charge the camera.
Supercircuit’s body-worn cameras are capable of recording high-quality videos even in dark settings. Button and screw micro cameras can fit anywhere so they will not impede an officer’s movements. Designed specifically to aid in law enforcement, these body-worn cameras can run for up to 35 hours.
Body-worn cameras can provide critical evidence for cases that relied on he-said-she-said in the past. This is a great leap for law enforcement. When harnessed to its full potential, body-worn cameras can also help bridge the gap between communities and the police. Transparency, accountability, and better training serve as the foundation for better, stronger police-community relationships and safer streets.