Turns Out Some Police Like Being Filmed While On Duty

from the keeps-them-safer dept

Just a couple months ago, we wrote about how police were complaining that allowing people to film them in public created chilling effects on how they behaved. Separately, we’ve noted a variety of recent incidents in which police took action against those who filmed them in public.

Thankfully, not all police feel that way. Bryce writes in to let us know about how a growing number of police forces are putting personal cameras on every officer’s uniform, and that the officers feel safer knowing they’ll be filmed:

“It feels uncomfortable when I don’t have it,” Nguyen said of the video camera that is smaller than a smartphone and is worn on his chest. “You can never be too safe.”

[….] “First and foremost, it protects the officers, it protects the citizens and it can help with an investigation and it shows what happened,” said Steve Tidwell, executive director of the FBI National Academy Associates in Quantico, Va. “It can level the playing field, instead of getting just one or two versions. It’s all there in living color, so to speak.”

Of course, this is just an extension of grill cameras that many police cars have to record traffic stops. But a personal camera definitely goes further. Others will probably point out that this is different in that the police retain these versions, and don’t make them public (unless they want to). And that’s definitely true. It’s certainly not entirely the same. But, it does serve as at least a partial counterpoint to the idea that police are entirely against being filmed, and that it will somehow create a “chilling effect” for them.

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Comments on “Turns Out Some Police Like Being Filmed While On Duty”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Video recorded by dash mounted cameras is locked in the trunk. The individual officers can’t “lose” it. However, for those who believe in a vast police conspiracy to systematically abuse both their authority and the citizens they are sworn to protect, I guess there is no “safeguard” that would work except to disband the entire law enforcement hierarchy.

David Muir (profile) says:

In Toronto, when dash mounted cameras were tested, the recording unit was in a sealed and locked box inside the trunk that could not be opened by the officers who were assigned the patrol vehicle. I am not a lawyer, but that was for evidence chain of custody purposes I would assume.

Maybe the lapel cams will have a similar method to avoid tampering or accidental/purposeful loss.

Another anonymous coward says:

Re: When you control the camera

” ..its [sic] not the same thing as a citizen taking a video.’

And that would be because citizens are fair and unbiased, while police are not?
Clearly- anyone can use quotes, film, audio, and other information if they choose the context and scope – for any means or agenda they wish to promote.

I’m not 100% behind this. Assuming that all humans have an equal tendency to protect themselves through lying, or omission.. then as a taxpayer, I want more detail about the how, what, and why of this entire idea.
At my last ‘uniformed service’ job, I wired up my uniforms so that every outerjacket had at least one microphone. This was to protect me from both public & co-workers / supervising uniforms.
In order to protect some integrity if I needed to use them, I’d date each cassette tape, noting if anything ‘special’ may have happened, and mail them to myself once a week.
Over three years, I only used one – and that was actually to defend a supervisor who was accused of harassment.

Real Talk says:

Good'ol boys club = No tranparency = corruption/abuse

So they can film us but we can’t film them? Cops get suspended with paid leave and separated from the general prison population if convicted.

I’m sure the video tape will get lost or damaged if police club members deems it desirable. There’s still no transparency.

That will only come if it’s ‘us’ video taping ‘them’ and vice-verse. Otherwise is screams corruption if they have all the video tapes to use against us, and they smash ours on the ground…

known coward says:

This should be manditory

Most police offers are good people just trying to do their jobs, in the majority of instances the video?s will prove the officer correct. The problem is with the bad apples in the force, these are public actors and their actions should be held accountable to the public. The video makes it easier to get rid of the bad apples.

As to the potential for lost video?s, put a rule in to interpret the missing footage against the folks with camera, in this case the cops.

Thomas (profile) says:


The dash cameras (at least in our town) are in a sealed box, and when the police vehicles go near the town center, it is automatically uploaded to the police station. The police log is public record, and you can download it every week. I read them and for traffic stops warnings greatly outnumber tickets. The officers do a very good job. However, if I’m in one of the towns next to ours, I’m very much on my guard and avoid shopping in the town or being out on foot since I don’t trust the cops there. There is another adjoining ours where I’m comfortable walking around and you even see police officers on foot at times and they are polite and you get the feeling they are reasonable people. Some towns don’t realize the reason people don’t shop there is the cops are way too aggressive, even harassing pedestrians walking down the street.

Most of the cops are decent officers who don’t take bribes, don’t beat people, and really care about the communities they work in.

On the other hand, there are quite a few who are the opposite. When you work in a large city district where there is a lot of crime you tend to see too many people as criminals. I hate being on foot in Boston and Cambridge; the cops are definitely not friendly. I even cross the street to avoid passing them on foot.

Alan says:

Why the hate?

What bothers me the most is how so many people seem to hate the police. This baffles me? They don’t get paid well, they risk their life and we treat them like crap.
There are a few bad cops. But I think the way we treat them turns many of them into mean, resentful cops. And some, one day, will snap and stop caring.
I’m not trying to defend their actions but I am trying point some of the blame on us. If there is a bad cop, WE most likely turned him that way by how we treat officers.

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