Body Worn Video Steering Group
Dallas police, USA, could soon be rolling out body cameras to front line officers after Police Chief David Brown made a call for the technology. The move by the Police Chief comes in the wake of two of his officers being indicted for shooting civilians.
One officer was fired two weeks after an incident. His testimony did not match up to video footage taken of the encounter from a neighbouring house’s CCTV camera. The officer claimed that the victim had lunged forward with a knife in his hands, however the video footage revealed that he had in fact been standing completely still before he had been shot.
In a similar fashion, another officer testified that he had shot a 19 year old because he thought he was reaching for a gun. Witnesses reported that the teenager’s hands were in the air in an attempt to surrender.
Brown said he believes officers should be equipped with body cameras like the cameras already on police cruiser dashboards. In disputed situations, he said, officers’ testimony will not be the only evidence.
The adoption of body worn video across not only America, but the world, is being driven by many positive factors. Whilst cameras can help bring police officers to account for their actions, the benefits of de-escalation and deterrence, significant time and cost saving and protecting police officers are among the best that the technology brings.
Body worn cameras are not primarily to “police the police”, but instead to equip them with a tool to enhance their good work on the front line.