This piece I excerpted is by Lucas Mearian in Computerworld and is followed by my opinion.
By Lucas Mearian — The police department in Birmingham, Ala. has seen a 71% drop in citizen complaints — and a 38% drop in use of force by officers — since deploying 319 body cameras two months ago.
The cameras have been so effective that the department plans to buy another 300 cameras from Taser International.
“The chief’s goal is to get a camera on everybody who wears a uniform,” said Capt. William Brewer, who heads up Birmingham Police Department’s Technology Division.
Birmingham is among a growing number of police departments that are rolling out body cameras, spurred in large part by public pressure in the wake of a series of controversial police shootings of civilians. That pressure first began to mount nationally last year in the wake of the shooting death of Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Mo. Several other high-profile police shootings since Ferguson have added fuel to the body camera fire.
We need Cameras for Cops, everywhere, now
By Karl Spain
We have a serious problem in this country. An ever-growing number of Americans, black and white, have lost faith in our justice system.
There are root causes for this — that unfortunately will be very hard to address.
Fortunately, there is one aspect of this horrible, many year long running tragedy, that we can address quickly, and that will stop the finger pointing, lying, propaganda and political movements that now accompany individual police actions.
Get the He said, She said, Black said, White said, out of Everybody’s head.
It’s simple technology to the rescue. If every officer of the law is wired and required to be recording while on duty, 99% of this nonsense disappears. Ordinarily, for a solution like this to get implemented, we’d have to fight tradition, stupidity, and false agenda’s that would oppose such a simple and obviously effective solution. But this time might be different. Listen to Denver police chief Robert White. “We’re very comfortable that we are going in the right direction.”
He’s referring to buying and outfitting every Denver policeman and woman with cameras. It’s estimated the cameras will cost $1.5 million. The city will save that in legal expense every year the cameras are operational. The civil rights value exceeds that figure. The value of the recorded evidence will help the entire law enforcement community in Denver and most importantly get rid of the He said, She said, and Black said, White said.
“Citizens should know officers are being held accountable,” White said. “The only officers who would have a problem with body cameras are bad officers.”
Holy cow that was well said Chief White. The Feds should step in and do three things immediately. The first is to listen to this capable and reasonable police Chief speaking wisdom: “The ONLY (emphasis added) officers who would have a problem with body cameras are bad officers.” Then they need to make funding and/or loans available to every police department in the country for camera’s and a recording system. And lastly, they should also require that every department do this within a certain number of years, whether they’re willing or not.
I remember when President Clinton promised to help local law enforcement by providing funding to hire an additional 100,000 police officers. For a fraction of the cost of that initiative, a mere fraction of a percentage point, we can help law enforcement more than another 100,000 officers would — by restoring the thing those brave men and woman need most — public confidence.