Body Cameras And How They’re Making A Difference For Our Officers
Police officers work day in and day out in high pressure situations. It can be difficult for them to remember exactly what happened when being questioned about events later — but they do need to remember. Of course, sometimes memories are skewed by adrenaline, and it can be difficult for a person to clearly recount what happened without bias, no matter how hard they try. For that matter, some officers get injured on the job and can’t recall things accurately — and in the worst case scenario, and officer might not be around to recount his story. In this case, it’s vital that officers have a backup of some kind, a record that can confirm their stories. Of course, this record isn’t just beneficial to the individual officer; it also helps his department. A police department needs to be able to look over its officers’ actions to ensure that they’re doing what they should. These records can also act as a sort of performance review. While a supervising officer isn’t available to watch every officer’s conduct, they can look to police dash cameras and police body camera systems to make sure that their officers are acting as they should. Below, we’ll look into the benefits of police body cameras and police dash cameras — and how both can affect performance in the long term.
What Are Police Dash Cameras?
First, let’s look into police dash cameras. A police dash camera system is probably most ideal for the police officer who is more likely to work with and around his car. Think highway patrolmen. While, of course, they will get out of their cars, they will be more likely to stay within the vicinity of their vehicles, thus allowing the police dash cameras to do their work. As the name suggests, police dash cameras are installed around the dashboards of police vehicles, and can record from there. Right now, about 72% of state and highway patrol police vehicles use dash cams, and the great thing about them is that they’re durable and fairly easy to use. Of course, there are some drawbacks to dash cameras — which is why 77% of officers report that they think body cameras are more effective than dash cameras. Dash cameras are static, and therefore it’s easier for them to miss crucial moments of a scene. At the same time, they can record specific events such as vehicular chases. Therefore, while a dash camera might not be quite as effective as body cameras in certain moments, they shouldn’t be dismissed outright under any circumstances.
What Are Police Body Cameras?
Body cameras, like dash cameras, do what you might think they would; they are actually attached to the uniforms of officers, recording their actions as they happen. Body cameras are much more difficult to manipulate than dash cameras — you can’t avoid them, because they’re actually attached to you. Furthermore, according to many officers, they come with real results. Complaints against the San Diego police department for using “personal body” force fell by 40.5% after they started using body cameras, and the use of pepper spray by that same department fell by 30.5% after they started using body cameras. People feel like their rights are protected when police officers use body cameras, because body cameras don’t lie. Are body cameras perfect? No — they do run the risk of being dislodged or damaged. But while no product is beyond reproach completely, it’s good that officers have the option of using body cameras.
What Are The Other Benefits Of Cameras?
By enforcing the use of cameras, departments aren’t suggesting that they don’t trust their officers — the opposite. Rather, they’re making citizens and officers feel like their truths are being protected. It’s also a sign that law enforcement is constantly working to be better, rather than stagnating. Therefore, in the long term everyone benefits from the use of cameras — not just civilians, but officers too.