Should police be held accountable for their actions? Would you want police to wear body cameras? In the world today, the police without body cameras behave differently than the ones with them. The cameras are small, but they capture everything. Although some people say that police should have the right to turn on or off the camera when they please, police should wear body cameras because it would back up the truth and cause them to use less force, which would make citizens safer.
One reason why police should wear body cameras is the body cameras would back up the truth. If the police were arrested for shooting someone when they did not shoot that person, the judge sees the clip and they can believe the officer’s statement. According to Opposing Viewpoints, the video recording tells the judge the truth. One of the stories from Opposing Viewpoints involves a boy named Harrison. He was a bipolar, schizophrenic which is a psychiatric illness that is characterized by episodes of “mania.” His mom called the police to help her take her son to the hospital because her son was not taking his medication. When his mom opened the door Harrison came to the door with a screwdriver in his hand. The police officers asked him to drop the screwdriver. Seconds after asking Harrison to drop the screwdriver, they shot him. Harrison died of the gunshot wounds. The police officers were wearing a body camera, but they did not show it to the judge so the judge had no idea if Harrison was trying to attack the police officers with the screwdriver or not. The police officers were not convicted of shooting Harrison. The police officers should have been arrested. Therefore, police officers should wear body cameras because they back up the truth.
Another reason why police should wear body cameras is the body cameras would cause them to use less force. When the police are being watched, their behavior changes and they are more concerned about the citizens’ safety and using less force. According to Vice News, a study from 2015 showed that complaints in San Diego dropped 40% and the use of force fell 46.5% when police started wearing body cameras. This suggests that the body cameras help control what the police do and how they act. Instead of acting forceful, police were more peaceful. Similarly, the study also found in Rialto, California, complaints declined 88 percent, and the use of force dropped 60% when the police started wearing body cameras. According to Vice News, in Rialto and in San Diego the use of force fell. The result of police wearing body cameras can decrease the number of complaints and decrease the level of force greatly. Police should wear body cameras because it will cause them to use less force.
On the other hand, some people say police should have the right to turn on or off the camera when they want. This point of view makes sense because if a police officer goes to someone’s house to say that their family member has passed away, they can turn it off because that information is only for the family. Also, police should have the right to turn the camera on or off when they please because of their privacy. Would you want someone to be watching every move you make? Still, if they had choice to choose when to have the camera on or off, they might turn on or off the camera halfway through a conversation with someone, and might use excessive force. According to Vice News, Chad Marlow, the ACLU’s advocacy and policy counsel said, “If police have discretion, and certain times cameras are not turned on or turned on too late, people will see [police] manipulate body cameras. The guidelines for body cams should [give police] no discretion whatsoever on when they should or should not be used.” Therefore, police should still wear body cameras and not have the right to turn on/off the camera when they want because it backs up the truth and causes them to use less force which would make the citizens safer.
According to Vice News, A police officer in New Mexico, shot someone and he did not turn his camera on. To conclude, some people might say that police should have the right to turn the camera on and off when they want, but if police have the choice they might not protect the citizens safety.
Although police should have the right to turn on and off the camera when they please, police should still wear body cameras because they back up the truth and it would cause them to use less force, which would make the citizens safer. Do you want to be safer than you are now with armed police around?