Stop Police Brutality in Waterbury, CT!
What are the pros of putting body cams on police?
They’re almost limitless. The most important reason is it provides for the first time an unimpeachable view of what the officer actually sees. We’ve never really come close to having the ability to truly judge what an officer has done except through an officer’s narrative and recollection, and eyewitness accounts. Putting a recording system on front-line officers would make a very significant difference.
What are the major cons?
In terms of privacy protection, the diciest area is when an officer is inside somebody’s residence. That is something that is specifically protected in the U.S. by our 4th Amendment and in Canada by your Charter. While an officer may have an exception to somebody’s overall constitutional rights to enter a residence because of a warrant, that doesn’t mean that the person automatically waives their privacy rights.
The police can come in and record, but the video that’s generated should never be released to members of the public or the press without the consent of the person whose home has been breached.
On-body recording systems could chill expressive activity if they are simply used as surveillance tools, at events such as parades, demonstrations, etc., solely to gather information on the participants, or in individual interactions where an officer flips it on simply to deter free speech.
Just like any other piece of police equipment, the use of an on-body recording system has to be governed by very strong policies. If the cameras are only used to exonerate officers or to implicate subjects, then the technology will not be accepted.
In the ideal deployment, a police department needs to have an on-body recording system on each front-line officer, with policies that mandate recording each interaction with any subject.
That means the officer does not have the authority to switch the device on and off according to his or her own wishes.