Police brutality statistics apparently fell by 60 percent in one California town when all police officers were required to wear portable video cameras while on the job.
In a related report by The Inquisitr, a video of a CHP officer punching a fallen woman 11 times in the face went viral after it was filmed by a passing driver. But another video was even worse since it showed Albuquerque police shooting two suspects in the back, never mind when a homeless man was shot in the back.
The city of Rialto, California did a controlled study where the city’s 70 police officers were required to wear a video camera that recorded all of their interactions with the public. In 2012 alone complaints against Rialto police officers fell by 88 percent, while use of force by officers fell by almost 60 percent.
Rialto Police Chief William A. Farrar says it is not just his officers that behaved better when a camera was known to be watching:
“When you put a camera on a police officer, they tend to behave a little better, follow the rules a little better. And if a citizen knows the officer is wearing a camera, chances are the citizen will behave a little better.”
Cities like New York, Albuquerque, Fort Worth, and Oakland are considering implementing police cameras and even England is starting to adopt the practice with small-scale trial programs.
Of course, one huge negative to outfitting every cop with a camera is public privacy concerns. But even the American Civil Liberties Union, which is usually quick to protest anything that might infringe upon personal privacy, says that the notable drop in police brutality statistics is worth it:
“Although we generally take a dim view of the proliferation of surveillance cameras in American life, police on-body cameras are different because of their potential to serve as a check against the abuse of power by police officers.”
This is important because the Bureau of Justice Statistics once claimed the police brutality “rate was 6.6 complaints per 100 full-time sworn officers,” with 84 percent of these complaints targeting larger police departments. Out of the complaints that were officially investigated, “eight percent of the complaints were officially sustained, that is, there was sufficient evidence to justify disciplinary action against the officer or officers.” This means that for their report the police brutality statistics recorded a rate of 0.528 percent, mean that about one in 200 police officers actually did commit an action requiring discipline in that time frame.
Do you think cop should be required to wear video cameras at times in order to prevent police brutality, or do you consider the privacy concerns more important?