The recent shooting of an unarmed teen by a police officer in Ferguson, MO has put the nation into an all out controversy over the authority of local police agencies. One of the biggest arguments that has come out of the case is the use of car video recorders in police cars. Many argue that if the police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown had a camera in his car, many questions that have gone unanswered would be solved. All over the country, local police agencies are starting to consider installing in car camera systems in all police cars. How can these cameras benefit both police agencies and the public?
Benefits of Police Car Video Recorders
- Police Professionalism – One of the greatest benefits of having cameras in police cars is that it increases the level of police professionalism. Knowing that they are being recorded, police officers are more likely to be aware of their behavior and make more of an effort to uphold the standards that come with the responsibilities of being an officer of the law.
- Police Safety – Another benefit of police car camera systems is that they provide an extra layer of protection for police officers. Police officers with cameras in their cars are able to review video footage from their interactions with the public and can evaluate their technique. They can see when they might have turned their back to a suspect or unknowingly put themselves in a dangerous situation and make sure to correct their technique to ensure a safer interaction in the future.
- Source of Evidence – Finally, footage from police car cameras can act as an invaluable piece of evidence during a trial. During cases in which there are differing accounts of what actually happened, like the Ferguson case, video footage can make all the difference. There have been many instances in which police car camera footage showed that a person accused of attacking a police officer was actually innocent. Conversely, there have also been many cases in which police officers have been proven innocent after video footage was shown.
There may be much debate over what happened in the case of the Ferguson shooting, but there is no debating the fact that film from a police car camera could have shed some light on the situation.