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.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Chris Rhodes (profile), Jul 11th, 2011 @ 2:55pm

    A Good Step

    This won't stop the police from "losing" footage that paints them in a bad light, but it will make it harder to harass citizens for filming them when they have their own personal camera looking right out from under their face.

     

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  2.  
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    darryl, Jul 11th, 2011 @ 3:21pm

    Yes, its a TV show, it's called "COPS"

    What ya gonna doo !!! what ya gonna do when they come for you !!!!!! bad boys.....

     

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  3.  
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    sehlat (profile), Jul 11th, 2011 @ 3:23pm

    Just remember. "The innocent have nothing to fear."

    Toddles off while laughing like hell.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2011 @ 3:24pm

    The difference is that the police footage won't be edited, changed, or start at a certain point that is designed to make the officers looks bad. It will be on all the time.

     

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  5.  
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    Saurabh, Jul 11th, 2011 @ 3:35pm

    And what's to stop them from removing it in conflict situations? Toronto's polic force was accused of removing their name tags etc during G20 protests

     

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  6.  
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    RobShaver, Jul 11th, 2011 @ 3:38pm

    Cache for reality shows ...

    And the reality shows that will result can produce revenue for the police force. Not as good as getting to confiscate cash over $10K but still, pretty good deal.

     

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  7.  
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    DCX2, Jul 11th, 2011 @ 3:49pm

    Re:

    Yeah, the footage will conveniently go missing when it shows the police mis-behaving.

    Even if the video was edited, so what? People understand when things are taken out of context. Sometimes you don't even need any context, like the murder of Oscar Grant III by BART Officer Johannes Mehserle

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2011 @ 3:55pm

    Re: A Good Step

    Hopefully you have elected a good city prosecutor to file obstruction of justice charges against the police who "loose" footage that paints them in bad light.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2011 @ 4:30pm

    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.

     

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  10.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jul 11th, 2011 @ 5:19pm

    Re:

    Video recorded by dash mounted cameras is locked in the trunk. The individual officers can't "lose" it.

    Because they obviously don't have access to their trunk.

    Oh wait, that does explain what happened in Seattle.

     

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  11.  
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    David Muir (profile), Jul 11th, 2011 @ 6:58pm

    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.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2011 @ 7:02pm

    When you control the camera

    When you control the camera then you also control what it captures. The field of view of the camera is limited. It's not just about who retains the versions but who controls the camera too. As you point out its not the same thing as a citizen taking a video.

     

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  13.  
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    Atkray (profile), Jul 11th, 2011 @ 8:07pm

    Re: Yes, its a TV show, it's called "COPS"

    darryl, this is your best post. Ever.

    On topic, I think this is a good thing, how do we implement this nationally?

     

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  14.  
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    Atkray (profile), Jul 11th, 2011 @ 8:12pm

    Re: Re:

    People are not clicking your link or this post would be marked funny.

    Thank you.

     

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  15.  
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    Real Talk, Jul 11th, 2011 @ 10:00pm

    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...

     

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  16.  
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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Jul 11th, 2011 @ 10:37pm

    Re: Yes, its a TV show, it's called "COPS"

    Ack, sorry, wrong personality module.

    groove@techdirt:~$ sudo darryl --reboot 0

     

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  17.  
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    The eejit (profile), Jul 11th, 2011 @ 11:07pm

    Re: Yes, its a TV show, it's called "COPS"

    I'm gonna call the Ghostbusters. Who're YOU gonna call?

     

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  18.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Jul 11th, 2011 @ 11:31pm

    Re: Re: Yes, its a TV show, it's called "COPS"

    "how do we implement this nationally?"

    darryl speaking rationally?? I do not think that is possible.

     

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  19.  
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    known coward, Jul 12th, 2011 @ 5:40am

    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.

     

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  20.  
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    DannyB (profile), Jul 12th, 2011 @ 6:36am

    Re: Re: A Good Step

    I'm sure we won't see a pattern of the only lost recordings being those where someone is complaining of the officer's behavior.

     

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  21.  
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    Thomas (profile), Jul 12th, 2011 @ 7:10am

    Re: Yes, its a TV show, it's called "COPS"

    The police retain the right to determine which videos can be shown, and can edit out parts they don't want the public to see.

    Have you ever noticed that not once in all the years they have had the program "Cops" not ONCE has there been a segment that showed the officers in anything but a positive light.

     

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  22.  
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    Thomas (profile), Jul 12th, 2011 @ 7:23am

    Re:

    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.

     

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  23.  
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    Brian Schroth (profile), Jul 12th, 2011 @ 7:30am

    Cameras that could catch them doing illegal things where they can't delete the footage creates a "chilling effect".

    Cameras that could catch them doing illegal things, but that they can delete the footage does not create a "chilling effect".

     

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  24.  
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    f the police, Jul 12th, 2011 @ 7:55am

    Re:

    "start at a certain point that is designed to make the officers looks bad"

    Yeah, their own actions wll do that for them. But alais, the cameras will have failed when that happens, and all footage lost.

     

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  25.  
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    f the police, Jul 12th, 2011 @ 8:05am

    Re: Removing name tags?

     

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  26.  
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    indeciSEAN (profile), Jul 12th, 2011 @ 9:48am

    Re: A Good Step

    Fair enough…but Christ, seeing that little "insightful" emblem next to this comment makes me worry…either a lot of the readers here are living in some sort of North Korean-like police state, or we have a lot of paranoid cry-babies in our midst, waiting to jump on the next thing "infringing" on their rights…

     

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  27.  
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    Alan, Jul 12th, 2011 @ 12:07pm

    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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  28.  
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    Chris Rhodes (profile), Jul 12th, 2011 @ 10:46pm

    Re: Re: A Good Step

    Is it still paranoia if it's happening now?

     

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  29.  
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    Another anonymous coward, Jul 15th, 2011 @ 10:05am

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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