The Introduction of Police Body Cameras Essay

The introduction of police body cameras is one of the most debatable issues now mainly because of numerous scandals involving police officers and their violent behavior in relation to suspects or civilians, especially non-whites. Such scandals contributed to the development of the negative public image of the police and raised the public pressure on policy makers and the police. In response to the public pressure, policy makers suggest introducing police body cameras that will record all activities of police officers all the time. In such a way, police makers expect to resolve the problem of the police violence and inappropriate behavior of police officers. However, the focus on the solution of the problem of the police violence is impossible by the mere introduction of police body cameras, whereas long-run effects of such a decision may be rather negative than positive. Therefore, police body cameras should not be introduced because of several reasons, including the costs of the introduction of body cameras, reliability of body cameras, validity of evidence obtained with the help of body cameras, increased surveillance level and risk of the violation of the privacy right of civilians, and the risk of the destruction of the US democracy.

One of the major concerns that emerges in regard to the wide implementation of police body cameras involves the high costs of the introduction of body cameras nationwide. The introduction of body cameras will need funding from the state or federal budget that means that public funds will be spent on the introduction of body cameras by the police. The public funds will be therefore spend on the enhancement of the control over the police rather than on the prevention of crimes, although proponents of police body cameras (Gambacorta & Difilippo 4) will lead to the reduction of crimes committed by police officers. Moreover, some experts (Knickerbocker 5) insist that police body cameras will even improve the behavior of police officers and civilians. However, the question is whether it is all worth it, taking into account the high costs, the US public has to pay for such technological innovations.

Another aspect that boosts costs of police body cameras is the processing of the data and storage of the data obtained from police body cameras. As police body cameras record all the time and records are important in terms of their further use in case of legal issues associated with the work of police officers, then those records (Elinson & Frosch 6). The police will need to have the huge database which is safe enough to protect information breaches and secure the records. The solution of these technical will also need substantial financial resources, while some researchers (Elinson & Frosch 6) argue that such solutions are very challenging and the question whether the US police will be able to resolve them or not still remains unanswered.

The introduction of police body cameras also raises the question of their reliability and effectiveness in the real world application. The reliability of body cameras is questionable because  they cannot always record accurately and images may be unclear. For example, faces of offenders or civilians may not always be seen clearly. In such a situation, investigators can never be certain in the reliability and validity of video records obtained with the help of police body cameras. The use of such cameras requires specific environment, for example, lighting, to obtain videos of the high quality that may be used as evidence not only for investigators but also in the court, while the court may not always admit video records as admissible evidence that decreases the value of police body cameras even more. In fact, they may become just a part of the equipment that has no legal use, if video records shot with body camera are rejected by the court.

In fact, the validity of evidence obtained with the help of body cameras is probably one of the most controversial issues which make their introduction ineffective and virtually useless. The validity of evidence obtained with the help of body cameras emerges if the court practice of rejection of video records as evidence persists. The US court system relies on the evidence of eyewitnesses above all, whereas video records are secondary in this regard. If the quality of video records is low, the court is likely to reject such evidence. Therefore, if police body camera’s records are of a low quality, then the court may simply reject them as not valid. The risk of the low quality of such video records is high because police officers may be in movement, lighting may be poor, and there are many other factors that may interfere and make records useless from the legal point of view.

However, even more serious issues emerge, when legal consequences of the introduction of police body cameras are studied in details. In this regard, the increased surveillance level and risk of the violation of the privacy right of civilians (Levinson-Waldman 8). Police officers wearing their body cameras will record civilians without their consent and there is a risk that police officers will make records not only in public spaces but also in private ones. For example, when a police officer stops a car and looks inside the car, he/she actually enters the private space, while his/her body camera keeps recording. Similar cases of the intrusion of the police into the private life of Americans increases substantially in case of the introduction of police body cameras.

In a long run, the use of police body cameras will contribute to the increase of surveillance over citizens from the part of the state. In such a situation, the risk of the destruction of the US democracy emerges because police officers obliged to use body cameras will allow conducting surveillance (Levinson-Waldman 8). Therefore, the government may use its law enforcement agencies to survey people and under certain conditions the government may use the records against citizens, for example, to defame some critics of the government.  Such a prospect is a threat to the US democracy and traditional lifestyle of Americans.

Consequently, there is no reasonable need to introduce police cameras because their negative effects outweigh their positive effects drastically. In fact, the introduction of police body cameras has a number of drawbacks, such as the costs of the introduction of body cameras, reliability of body cameras, validity of evidence obtained with the help of body cameras, increased surveillance level and risk of the violation of the privacy right of civilians, and the risk of the destruction of the US democracy, which are just a few negative effects of police body camera to mention. This is why police body cameras should not be introduced in the US to save costs and rights of Americans.

Works Cited:

Elinson, Z. and Frosch, D. Police Cameras Bring Problems of Their Own.

Gambacorta, D. and Difilippo, D. The Pros and Cons of Policy Body Cameras.

Knickerbocker, B. Study Shows that with Police Body Cameras “Everyone Behaves Better”.

Levinson-Waldman, R. The Dystopian Danger of Police Body Camera.

Rahman, S. Body Cameras Could Transform Policing – for the Worse

Stanley, J. Police Body-Mounted Cameras: With Right Policies in Place, a Win for All.

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"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: June 2, 2020]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: June 2, 2020]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: June 2, 2020]

"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

[Accessed: June 2, 2020]