Getac Body-Worn Cameras
Today's law enforcement professionals live in a difficult age. Not only are they finding themselves targets for criminals on an increasingly regular basis, they face condemnation from the media for simply doing their jobs. What should have been a routine arrest turns ugly, and officers who were abiding by their first cardinal rule--to protect and serve while making sure that, between them and a suspect, they're the one that goes home--are left under suspicion. Did they do everything in their power to make it out of the situation without using excessive force? Was it a case of a suspect behaving in a specific way, or did the law enforcement professional react inappropriately?
Body-worn cameras have a number of benefits for law enforcement professionals. While not every department has issued these devices to their police officers, it's obvious that the need is increasing. By adding body-worn cameras to the gear that goes with officers on every call, it's possible to increase the safety of those officers and protect them in the event that things go wrong.
Accountability and Transparency
Not every officer is a paragon of public service. Not only that, everyone has bad days. One of the primary uses of the body-worn camera within many departments is to provide accountability and transparency. That's not just convenient for the officer and the department. It's also convenient for anyone who genuinely believes that they were mistreated at the hands of an officer. The body-worn camera will show:
— Exactly what the suspect did during the course of the interaction with the officer
— Whether or not a warning was issued
— How an officer behaved while working with a suspect
— Evidence that will stand up in court
This leads to increased accountability for the officer and transparency about how the interaction took place, but it also provides a layer of protection: instead of a case of what the officer says versus what the suspect says, there's clear evidence of exactly what took place in a given situation.
The Whole Story
Today, most people carry a video camera with them in their pockets. Smart phones have incredible technology that allows bystanders on the street to capture their perspective of an altercation or arrest. There's just one problem with those devices: they can only capture information once their owner starts recording.
Body-worn cameras are designed to capture the whole story. Officers are able to start the recording when they begin the interaction with a suspect, rather than having to simply hope that someone will capture the relevant details. They are also more likely to capture things from the officer's perspective: that is, a bystander might be able to clearly see that a suspect is reaching in one direction, while to the officer, it appears that the individual is reaching for a gun.
Better Documentation of Evidence
Despite their best efforts, many officers find that evidence at the scene of a crime is contaminated before they're able to seal it. Body-worn cameras can help capture that important evidence and ensure that it's accurate. An officer might not be able to pay attention to every detail of what's going on around them when they first arrive at the scene. Their first focus must be on people: both criminals and their victims. Body-worn cameras, on the other hand, take in all the visual and auditory information available, recording them for later viewing when there's more time to take it all in.
While it's critical that policies concerning body-worn cameras take into consideration the potential consequences to the victims of crimes if footage is released, it's evident that body-worn cameras can have a huge impact on both officers and suspects. These devices keep both suspects and officers accountable, ensuring that their behavior is recorded for later viewing--and that can make a huge difference, particularly in areas where police officers are not automatically trusted. If you're ready to implement body-worn cameras in your department, contact us today to learn more about these critical devices.