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Big push for body cameras on LEO's across the nation

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  • Big push for body cameras on LEO's across the nation

    Since the shooting in MO, there has been a big cry from the public for body cameras being worn by law enforcement. I'm wondering if anyone on the forum is in a department that currently uses these camera's and what is your take on it so far? Pro's and Con's? Not trying to stir up anything I'm asking for opinions about the technology and its potential upside for fellow LEOs.

    Your thoughts?

  • #2
    We have them and I love them! It hasn't change the way I do business. Most people understand Sir or Ma'am, I need you to do XYZ but for the ones that don't, get told in a way that they can understand. My PD admin understands that police work isn't always pretty, just be able o justify what you do. For the most part, it allows people to see what you see and its also great for documenting evidence.
    Strong Body, Sharp Mind And Good Tactics!

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    • #3
      My agency does not have them at this time.

      I am thinking that the pendulum on this will swing in a couple of years and we will see lawsuits that say the cops are leaving their cameras on too much and capturing too much data (think license plate reader technology now). Everybody sees the upside right now, nobody but a select few is thinking that every contact is getting recorded, names, dob's, physical descriptions along with photos of those contacts, all of it. Wait for the tinfoil to start flying on that one.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by kermit315 View Post
        My agency does not have them at this time.

        I am thinking that the pendulum on this will swing in a couple of years and we will see lawsuits that say the cops are leaving their cameras on too much and capturing too much data (think license plate reader technology now). Everybody sees the upside right now, nobody but a select few is thinking that every contact is getting recorded, names, dob's, physical descriptions along with photos of those contacts, all of it. Wait for the tinfoil to start flying on that one.
        I believe there is a lot of truth to this.

        People lie. People tell their family that officer so-and-so was rude on a traffic stop and get people worked up in a frenzy. Once the video cameras come on and we record THEM like they record us, they will be screaming about their privacy. Then someone is going to sue because they feel like they were violated because officer so-and-so recorded them bying beer at the 7/11 (when the officer was only there to get himself a cup o' joe for the road). Then poof- just like that, body cameras will be against the law.

        I just wish we could flood youtube with all of the bullcrap WE have to put up with!

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Shush View Post
          I believe there is a lot of truth to this.

          People lie. People tell their family that officer so-and-so was rude on a traffic stop and get people worked up in a frenzy. Once the video cameras come on and we record THEM like they record us, they will be screaming about their privacy. Then someone is going to sue because they feel like they were violated because officer so-and-so recorded them bying beer at the 7/11 (when the officer was only there to get himself a cup o' joe for the road). Then poof- just like that, body cameras will be against the law.

          I just wish we could flood youtube with all of the bullcrap WE have to put up with!
          I dont think the cameras will go away. I think what will happen is policies so restrictive that if one is not turned off when somebody thinks it should be, all of a sudden you are getting written up, then fired.

          Just my opinion.

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          • #6
            We have 'em. We review them for every use of force and citizen complaint. They have been very helpful in determining facts, the sequence of events, getting direct quotes, etc. I wish officers would turn them on earlier and more often because sometimes your best intentions of being Officer Friendly end up with a physical arrest. Even if you have poor resolution due to bad lighting, you still have good audio. Cameras have exonerated a number of officers. The flip side is that if you **** up, it is recorded for posterity. They get a thumbs up from me.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Shush View Post
              I believe there is a lot of truth to this.

              People lie. People tell their family that officer so-and-so was rude on a traffic stop and get people worked up in a frenzy. Once the video cameras come on and we record THEM like they record us, they will be screaming about their privacy. Then someone is going to sue because they feel like they were violated because officer so-and-so recorded them bying beer at the 7/11 (when the officer was only there to get himself a cup o' joe for the road). Then poof- just like that, body cameras will be against the law.
              I just wish we could flood youtube with all of the bullcrap WE have to put up with!
              Why would you turn your camera on to buy a cup of coffee?

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              • #8
                We tried them out... but eventually got decided not to use them. A lot of officers felt it took away their discretion knowing supervisors would have access to the footage and would actually view all the footage. I used one for 2 shifts and felt uncomfortable knowing every traffic stop or call would be viewed and possibly scrutinized... even though I don't do anything that would be deemed unprofessional or outside the Dept's policies. I can see the upside... but I think supervisors that view and critique everything you do can make it difficult to enjoy the job. One of the great things about police work is the freedom to patrol how you want and handle calls using your discretion... I see body cams as taking some of that freedom away.
                Last edited by TAPnRACK; 09-05-2014, 06:33 PM.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by TAPnRACK View Post
                  We tried them out... but eventually got decided not to use them. A lot of officers felt it took away their discretion knowing supervisors would have access to the footage and would actually view all the footage. I used one for 2 shifts and felt uncomfortable knowing every traffic stop or call would be viewed and possibly scrutinized... even though I don't do anything that would be deemed unprofessional or outside the Dept's policies. I can see the upside... but I think supervisors that view and critique everything you do can make it difficult to enjoy the job. One of the great things about police work is the freedom to patrol how you want and handle calls using your discretion... I see body cams as taking some of that freedom away.
                  That is something else that I have thought of. With these cameras, I can see more enforcement and less discretionary warnings from some agencies, and public outcry based on it, and for precisely that reason. People will get (even more) butt hurt over simple arrests that would have been discretionary warnings before because the officer fears that they will be disciplined otherwise. I can also see some admins actually putting this out that way (if we seen an enforceable action, we want to see enforcement). Then people will complain even more about 'cops dealing with real crime instead of harassing people over small stuff'. In the end, I really do think it is a no win situation, with pro's and con's on each side. I think the pro's outweigh the con's, for now.

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                  • #10
                    My agency started using them about 3 months ago and the patrol deputies LOVE them

                    Our Sheriff is NOT worried about any of the deputies doing anything illegal or out of policy----he wants the protection from unfounded complaints and/or documentation of the unexpected. (He runs calls and wears one also)

                    I firmly believe they are not going away----------------let them sue, it won't stop THEM from filming YOU.

                    A body cam is absolutely NO different than a squad cam in that it can protect you more than it is going to hurt you in the long run
                    Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

                    My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by TAPnRACK View Post
                      A lot of officers felt it took away their discretion knowing supervisors would have access to the footage and would actually view all the footage.
                      So, you're saying, "Our supervisors won't back us up on routine matters and we're screwed when the SHTF." Sounds like you really need those cameras.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Seventy2002 View Post
                        So, you're saying, "Our supervisors won't back us up on routine matters and we're screwed when the SHTF." Sounds like you really need those cameras.
                        That is not at all what I took away from that. I took it as the same thing I posted above. If a supervisor sees an enforceable action and the officer used their discretion and gave a warning or took no noted action on it, would the officer be jammed up over it? Not wanting to be jammed up, it seems many of those officers stopped using discretion and just wrote/hooked everything.

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                        • #13
                          At the very least you'll get an unedited version of events.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by kermit315 View Post
                            If a supervisor sees an enforceable action and the officer used their discretion and gave a warning or took no noted action on it, would the officer be jammed up over it?
                            A warning is enforcement. It may, or may not, be the appropriate level of enforcement. If an officer feels he cannot justify his actions to his supervisor, something needs to change. It may be policy, the supervisor, the officer, or all of these.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Seventy2002 View Post
                              A warning is enforcement. It may, or may not, be the appropriate level of enforcement. If an officer feels he cannot justify his actions to his supervisor, something needs to change. It may be policy, the supervisor, the officer, or all of these.
                              And which of those does the officer have the ability to control?

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