Ever since the controversial shooting death of Michael Brown Ferguson in Missouri, people across the country have been calling for police officers to be equipped with body cameras. Proponents say that the devices would provide an unbiased accounting of how the police interact with the American people.
On the other hand, opponents are concerned about the costs involved, the practicality of the devices, human error, and protecting people’s privacy. The issue of wearing body cameras is a sensitive subject, and should be approached with care.
Body Cameras Provide Accountability
For police officers and the public, body cameras provide accountability for both sides. If encounters are being recorded for potential evidence, there’s a good chance that both sides will be on their best behavior.
A year-long study conducted by Police Foundation Executive Fellow Chief Tony Farrar on body cameras with the police department in Rialto, California, found that the incidents involving force dropped by more than 50% when the cameras were rolling.
Though body cameras have some compelling benefits, especially when it comes to police brutality, experts warn about the pitfalls associated with privacy loss, which raises serious concerns for both law enforcement officers and criminal defendants.
Whether it’s DUI, domestic violence, or something else, cameras present strong pros and many sticky cons. The general consensus believes that the adoption of body cameras by the police should be handled with caution.
Orange County Sheriff’s Department Tests Body Cameras
On Monday, June 01, 2015, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department began testing body cameras, according to the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs.
Lt. Jeff Hallock of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department said that eight deputies were chosen to wear body cameras for a four-week test in Stanton.
The department has conducted other body camera tests, with the intention of getting feedback from their deputies, said Hallock. The tests were mostly conducted in South Orange County. Currently, body cameras are being used in Anaheim and Fullerton.
A date has not been set for the full implementation of body cameras in Orange County. Time, trial and error will tell how they will affect the recording of traffic stops, field sobriety tests, and DUI arrests.