One of the trends sweeping across law enforcement is the use of body-worn cameras for police officers. In the wake of several controversial incidents, many communities asked for more transparency within their police departments.
Soon, all Oakley Police Officers will begin using body-worn cameras. The decision to use cameras was not born in controversy, rather it is being done to protect our staff. The studies show the number of use of force incidents and the number of complaints are unchanged with the use of cameras. What is not discussed; however, is the outcome of those complaints. We believe the use of cameras will exonerate the actions of our staff in nearly every case. In those cases where our staff is acting improperly, the video will assist in training and changing those unwanted behaviors.
It’s been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. If this is true, what will video of a suspects criminal behavior be worth? The use of cameras will provide significant evidence in criminal prosecution. Further, video footage will go a long way in resolving complaints regarding our officers saving valuable time and money. There are still hurdles to cross in this arena. As with many things, the technology is outpacing the law. When videos can be reviewed, and by whom, are still questions to be settled in the courts. In the coming months and years these issues will be sorted out.