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What Are the Benefits of Police Wearing Body Cameras?


Documenting Cases of Police Brutality

It’s no secret that police brutality incidents are tragic occurrences that have been plaguing our nation. A study conducted by the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan found that the odds of being killed by a police officer over the course of a lifetime are about 1 in 2000 for men and 1 in 33,000 for women. The risk is highest for Black men who, staggeringly, face about a 1 in 1000 chance of being killed by police over the course of a lifetime.

These statistics are certainly devastating and sobering, and it is dire that our society works together to find healing solutions to prevent this brutality from continuing. One solution that has worked to help the cause is installing body cameras on policemen. The prominence of body cameras on policemen has gradually increased in the last few years. In 2013, only a quarter of agencies used body cameras, but by 2016, that number had jumped to 45%. This increase in body camera wearing can be advantageous for all parties involved in an arrest, as police body cameras have the following benefits:

  • Increasing accountability

This is the most obvious reason behind having police wear body cameras. It is a great way to hold police accountable, both when they are doing their job correctly and incorrectly. Perhaps that is why a study from Pew Research Center showed that 93% of the public and 66% of police offers supported the use of body cameras for this reason.

  • Promoting transparency

This benefit goes hand-in-hand with accountability. When it comes to matters of our criminal justice system, the more transparent any given legal situation is, the better. With body cameras, the public is able to see precisely what police officers are doing. This level of transparency could help the public to better understand the motives of police officers and help make sure the officers are not engaging in activities they would not want the public to see.

  • Improved officer performance and civilian conduct

Body cameras are not only helpful tools to let us know what happened during a police interaction, but they can also influence the events that unfold to be more positive than they might have otherwise been. One study of the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department concluded that body cameras increased their professionalism during interactions with the public and created a more successful overall communication.

  • Creating impartial eyewitnesses

For so long, the only insight we had into a crime or instances of violence was the word of those involved, potential witnesses who happened to be at the scene, and potential cameras that happened to be nearby. With body cameras, there is a guaranteed camera filming every interaction. If an interaction should go south in any way, the camera creates the opportunity for impartial eyewitnesses to analyze the series of events that transpired. This can help to heighten understanding of any troublesome outcomes and help draw more accurate conclusions about who is responsible for any wrongdoings.

Furthermore, these additional eyewitnesses can help with the process of collecting evidence during court proceedings. As police brutality lawyers who help those who have been injured by police misconduct with their municipal claims, the evidence that comes from body cameras gives us more to work with on behalf of our clients. If the police were using force in a way that was not reasonably necessary to effectuate an arrest or detainment, this would be evident in the video produced by the body camera and would help our clients get the justice they deserve.

If you were injured by police misconduct and would like to file a municipal claim, or you need representation for another personal injury case, call Belushin Law Firm, P.C. at (888) 918-9890 or contact us online.