Sunday, August 1, 2010

Police Cameras

The use of technology to increase the effectiveness of police is a good thing, as this story from the San Francisco Chronicle reports on the use of wearable police cameras.

An excerpt.

“As police work is increasingly captured on camera and scrutinized by the public, from traffic stops to a BART police officer's killing of Oscar Grant, many law enforcement agencies are asking the same question.

“Why not control the cameras ourselves?

“Around the Bay Area, police departments are studying what would be a profound cultural shift in law enforcement: outfitting all cops with wearable cameras to record stops, arrests, sobriety tests and interviews.

“The practice, meant to gather evidence and provide a video record if misconduct allegations arise, is a step forward from dashboard cameras that have become common in cruisers and audio recorders that many officers strap to their belts.

“Police departments in several cities, including Union City, Campbell and Brentwood, recently bought batches of the body cameras. Officials in many other cities see the trend as unstoppable.

"In the future, officers will not hit the streets without a camera," said Sgt. Ronnie Lopez of the San Jose Police Department, where officers recently tested a set of 18 over-the-ear cameras made by Taser International Inc. of Scottsdale, Ariz., the same company that makes the electronic shock guns.

"We live in a YouTube society where people have the ability to record us," Lopez said. "We firmly believe officers do the right things for the right reasons, and this is a way to show our side."