Opinion: Body cameras are the beginning, not the end, of police reform

Susan Bigelow
Susan Bigelow

Susan Bigelow is an award-winning columnist and the founder of CTLocalPolitics. She lives in Enfield with her wife and their cats.

I’ll say it right away so there’s no confusion: police in the United States need to wear body cameras. They need to start wearing them right away, and they need to do so voluntarily. But that’s the easy part of police reform: the rest will be much, much harder.

The body camera idea is finally starting to catch on. President Obama wants Congress to fund body cameras for 50,000 police officers as part of his response to protests and violence in the aftermath of the non-indictment of Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, and suddenly people around the country are waking up to the fact that it’s a good idea.

Body cameras make sense for both police and the communities they serve. They will take a lot of the back-and-forth, hearsay, and doubt out of cases like Ferguson. Cameras have already proven their worth in holding the worst cops to account: earlier this year, an Enfield, Conn. police officer was caught on camera brutally abusing a suspect. He is now off the force. Video footage of the deaths of Eric Garner and Tamir Rice have provoked national outrage.

See the complete story at CT News Junkie.



3 responses to “Opinion: Body cameras are the beginning, not the end, of police reform”

  1. Oldtimer

    If body cameras are to serve a purpose, they must be turned on full time, not just when the officer decides it might be a good idea. They will capture a lot of relatively boring information, might even capture naps that night shift cops squeeze in, once in a while. They will also capture everything leading up to and during a interaction that goes bad, sometimes terribly. Most departments will not review what the cameras copy until there is a questioned interaction, but the flash memory should be preserved, if not forever, for some standard period. I don’t know the numbers, but high capacity flash memory cards can hold a lot of hours of camera running full time for relatively inexpensive memory.

  2. John Hamlin

    Body cameras will be an officer’s only defense in certain crowd control situations. We should fund body cameras now.

  3. Scott

    With the current feelings of hostility and distrust towards all caucasian police officers every patrol person should be begging for them. The burden of proof of innocence has shifted to them. If officer Wilson had been wearing one and we could see that everything transpired exactly as he stated i don’t think we would have seen the riots and destruction nationwide like we have. But then again that would require some form of logical reasoning from the mob mentality

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