Something Seems Shady

Typically when a police officer confronts a civilian anger may be felt by one or both of them and it can be hard to determine who is at fault if something were to happen. Last year, William Farrar, the police chief in Rialto, California implemented a strategy to determine if an officer’s use of recording equipment will benefit both police and civilians. After having half of Rialto’s uniformed police officers randomly assigned to wear miniature cameras on places such as their hats or sunglasses every week, the experiment was in place.

The results were astonishing because after the one year experiment was over, the department had an 88 percent decline in number of complaints filed against police officers. from 24 to 3 instances. In addition, officers used force 60 percent less often, down from 61 to 25, and those who did use force were twice as likely to be an officer who wasn’t wearing a camera that records their actions. The cameras appear to have an effect of curbing the autonomy that the police hold and they are now becoming more cautious of their actions; this experiment demonstrates its effectiveness in bringing down police brutality. However, some are bringing up privacy issues such as the whole “big brother is watching” idea and the possibility of police trolling around for crimes they can charge civilians with. Taser International, the maker of these new cameras has already received orders from departments in Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City and Hartford, as well as Fort Worth, Tex.; Chesapeake, Va.; and Modesto, Calif. In the San Francisco Bay Area, the police department of BART, even  the transit system.

 

Written by Kevin Zhang

Source:

Stross, Randall. “DIGITAL DOMAIN; Wearable Video Cameras, for Police Officers.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 06 Apr. 2013. Web. 06 Apr. 2013. <http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/07/business/wearable-video-cameras-for-police-officers.html?ref=business&gt;.

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