Body Worn Video Steering Group

Should Police Officers Wear Body Cameras? (TV Discussion)

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In the wake of the Ferguson police shooting of Michael Brown, police accountability and transparency are key talking points. Dashboard cameras have become commonplace in law enforcement, but should body cameras become the new norm too? Some say this would benefit both cops and civilians but there are a number of steps that need to be taken first.

Joining WTTW on Chicago Tonight to talk about the police issue are Ed Yohnka, director of communications and public policy at the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, Jeffrey Urdangen, clinical professor at Northwestern University School of Law and director of the Center for Criminal Defense at the Bluhm Legal Clinic, and Dennis Rosenbaum, professor of criminal justice and psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Key points are made in the above video, especially in regard to privacy in sensitive situations. The latter has sparked many bill drafts pertaining to the use of body cameras, and the potential approaches/procedure the police would have to follow.

However for some this is controversial, as there are benefits to recording all interactions as evidence would still be gathered. Yet freedom of information requests often blanket law agencies with a huge workload meaning potentially non-evidential, but sensitive videos can eventually end up in the public domain. This has led to situations such as the Seattle police department redacting footage and uploading it to video-hosting websites with an intention of transparency.

Read our article on Surveillance and Sousveillance, focused on both the public and police attitudes to using cameras against crime.

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