The Beginning Of A New Era: Body Cameras

Fatal shooting or abuse by police officers has recently gained significant attention through the media. Citizens demand justice for their loved ones who have experienced police brutality. However, it is nearly impossible to discern what truly occurred between an individual and the police without any witnesses around.

Families such as those of Michael Brown, the teenager who was fatally shot by an officer in Ferguson, Missouri are requesting that police officers begin to wear body cameras. A year long study of the Rialto, California police department showed that when officers wore cameras the rate of use of force incidents was reduced by 59 percent and “utilization of the cameras led to an 87.5 percent reduction in complaints” by citizens against cops. Police reformists and equipment vendors endorse body cameras because they often provided accountability.

“Body-worn cameras hold tremendous promise for enhancing transparency, promoting accountability and advancing public safety for law enforcement officers and the communities they serve,” Attorney General Loretta Lynch said. President Obama recently announced $263 million in funding to purchase 50,000 body cameras for local police agencies.

Many individuals celebrate the introduction of a new era for justice although the adoption of body cameras will not all happen at once. A officer from the New York police department said, “ There are so many cons to these body cameras that people are not focusing enough on. For starters, I will feel like my own privacy is being invaded at times because I will not want anyone listening in on my conversation with my partner, family or friends while being on duty.”

There is a debate about when the body cameras should be on and off. “What if I need to use the ladies room?” the officer continued “There is no way I will have that camera on. There needs to be an exception because if not, my privacy is being completely violated!”

There are citizens who believe that there will be fewer unjustified shootings, fewer acts of brutality, and ultimately, fewer unjustified arrests with body cameras. However, others maintain that body cameras will become an intrusion to their life since their everyday actions will be watched.  Despite the different opinions, body cameras has already became a reality in our world.  


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