Body-worn cameras are becoming a higher priority for a lot of police departments around the country. Did you know that many states, according to the National Institute of Justice, are requiring law enforcement agencies to purchase body-worn cameras for their department? These states often offer grants to help offset the cost of outfitting an entire agency with new equipment.
If you live in a state that doesn’t require them for their police departments, you may be thinking to yourself, “What are the benefits?”
Making Safety a Priority
The biggest reason to implement body cameras is to keep everyone safe — not just the officers but also the public.
Just the mere presence of a body camera could deter someone from attacking an officer trying to do his or her job. If even one life is saved because of them, then it will have been worth the investment. Likewise, the presence of body cameras aims to put officers on their best behavior.
Police departments want to be transparent with the public and equipping their staff with these cameras means they are doing their part in showing the public that proper procedures are being followed.
Exonerate Your Officers
With body-worn cameras, officers can capture an incident and the footage can be reviewed, exonerating an officer from any wrongdoing following a false claim. Good behavior needs to be encouraged and rewarded, and there are plenty of people who will falsely accuse a police officer.
Body-worn cameras also mean the onus isn’t on the officer to remember every single detail. Incidents happen quickly, and it can be difficult for police officers to recall the events exactly as they happened while trying to de-escalate a situation.
Tell the Whole Story
Everyone wants to know the truth, and body-worn cameras show exactly what happened. If there are several officers involved in a single incident, that means there are multiple points of view involved, making it easier to figure out how an incident took place.
Hold the Right Person Accountable
There’s no doubt that accountability is a top priority for police departments across the country, and the presence of body cameras means there is no denying how an incident unfolded. Should an officer cross the line regarding upholding the law, then the accountability falls on the department in disciplining the officer appropriately.