Cops' New Weapon for Accountability: Cameras
More and more police officers are walking around with body cameras on their uniforms in hopes of increasing transparency and accountability.
Throughout the country, more and more police departments are testing a new use of an old technology on their person: cameras. In a growing number of areas -- including Denver, Seattle and the San Francisco Bay area -- officers are wearing body cameras that record audio and video, potentially protecting police from false accusations and citizens from police abuse, reports the Denver Post. The cell phone-sized cameras are clipped to uniforms or worn as a headset. The camera manufacturer told the Post it has supplied more than 1,000 departments with the technology. During Denver's 60-day pilot, officers will decide when to turn on their cameras. In Seattle, where the city police department is under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department for abuse and misconduct, officers are required to record every contact they have with the public, according to National Public Radio. If the body cameras become permanent, widespread police staples, though, a number of questions surrounding privacy and access may need to be addressed.