Police departments know the importance of upholding the law. Innovations are changing the way that police perform their jobs for the better. One of these innovations is the body camera. Previously, police departments used dash cameras to record their activities. In a recent survey, 77% of police officers stated that body cams are a more effective option than dash cameras are. Dash cameras are a great innovation and have provided much protection to police departments. However, the body cam is quickly becoming the preferred method of all officer recording devices. Here are three reasons for your department to strongly consider using dash cameras.
- Collecting Additional Evidence – Body cameras aren’t just being used to make the public feel more at ease, they’re helping officers at their job. In the heat of the moment, small pieces of evidence could be missed with the naked eye. However, thanks to body cams, officers are able to record entire calls that they go on. Having a second set of eyes that records every moment is great for evidence collection.
Body cameras are able to document each and every interaction an officer has on the scene. If these calls escalate into a case that ends up in court, the camera can be a valuable source of information. In situations where physical abuse has occurred, the body cam will clearly show the extent of physical damage. When considering the amount of domestic disturbance calls an officer can go on, having recorded video can be extremely valuable.
- Reducing Officer Complaints – Unfortunately, there are times when a civilian will attempt to file a false complaint on a police officer. No matter how invalid a complaint might be, it can put an officer’s career standing in jeopardy. Body cams allow for complete transparency of any encounter that is called into question. Police officers risk everything to protect and serve, the use of body cameras provide an officer with that same sense of protection.
The reduction in officer complaints isn’t just wishful thinking, it is being statistically proven. The Police Department for the City Council’s Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee conducted a report into what happened to the San Diego police department after they began using body cams. According to the statistics collected, complaints against officers dropped by 40.5%, personal force incidents dropped by 46.5%, and the use of pepper spray dropped by 30.5%, all after body cameras were implemented. Having a department with reduced incidents of officer misconduct is a welcome relief for any city.
- Non-Intrusive Equipment – While the concerns of the public are met with body cameras, it is important to think of the officer’s concerns too. Certain police departments don’t want to think about body cams because they are concerned the equipment will hinder daily activity. However, many innovations have been made in camera technology. These innovations allow for body cams that can fit in a number of places, as most cameras are very small.
It is important for an officer to be able to move freely while on duty. No one wants to carry around pounds of heavy camera equipment. Luckily, body cams are very non-intrusive. In addition, these cameras can be set up quickly, you don’t have to be good with computers to use them effectively. Sometimes, departments may assume that body cameras are going to be like full sized mounted camera which isn’t the case.
In summary, dash cameras provide a better situation for both officers and civilians. These cameras can provide clear and undeniable evidence collection which can especially come in handy during a trial. Complaints against officers will typically decrease after body cams have been implemented. Over 85% of law enforcement surveyed stated that body cams reduce false claims of misconduct by officers, according to data collected by PoliceOne and TASER International. Most body cameras are extremely easy to install and use which won’t hinder the ability of an officer. Body cameras are an important piece of equipment for maintaining a great relationship between police officers and the general public.