Police May Be Taping You
November 9, 2011 by Sam Rolley
A growing trend in law enforcement has police officers wearing on-uniform video cameras to capture encounters with the public from the officer’s point of view.
The cameras have already been fully implemented in departments in Cincinnati and Oakland, Calif., as well as Bainbridge Island, Wash., where they were initially tested, according to NPR. The idea is catching on with most law enforcement agencies, according to reports.
Police have for the most part warmly accepted the new addition to their uniforms — especially those in areas where controversies have arisen due to allegations of misconduct. Some officers, however, have expressed concerns about policies that require the cameras be on at all times, even if the citizen being spoken to does not wish to be on camera.
Other questions of privacy have also arisen concerning the cameras, including some about the kinds of calls to which officers often respond. Sgt. Rich O’Neill, president of the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild, told NPR that citizens may want to consider what it may mean to have a police officer show up at the door while filming.
“Maybe I’m there for something as small as a noise complaint,” O’Neill said. “Maybe I’m at your home for something much more serious, maybe it’s a terribly traumatic event, domestic violence victim, child abuse victim, and I’m going to be walking into that home, videotaping.”
Some critics also wonder if the tapes will be easily accessible to the public, since past incidents have demonstrated that departments are often unwilling to release dash cam recordings.