Should police wear body cameras? That was a question posed in the Sept. 7 issue of the New York Times’ Upfront Magazine. Some students from The Rambler staff weighed in with their opinion.
Police wearing body cameras is a policy that is both beneficial to the police officer involved and the suspect that is involved in the confrontation. By wearing body cameras, police are able to prove if a suspect is being disorderly or resisting arrest and that evidence found at the site of the arrest was present before the officer arrived on the scene. The camera is able to back up an officer’s account of an arrest or any confrontation in court. On the other side, if a bad apple were to be the arresting officer and he was truly using brutality on a suspect, the video tape would be able to show what really occurred. Body cameras mounted on police officers help deliver due justice to all those involved in a situation.
—Daniel Anthony, senior
I believe that requiring police officers to wear body cam is a great idea. It will lead to a decline in police abuse, or people abusing the police, and help in cases that are caused by those effects. Cops have the dashboard cam on their cars, but it is not as efficient as a body cam will be.
—Dan Basheer, senior
I think that police officers should have body cameras. I think that because once something happens the suspect and the officer both will say they are telling the truth, so if officers have body cams they will know who is telling the truth and who is lying. Also, there are some negatives to it, too, like if the cop is doing something then he finds some way to block the camera, he may jack someone up for no reason and the camera wouldn’t have caught it. Now the suspect is all beat up and seems like a liar while the officer is just sitting there smiling on the inside. I think it is a good idea and think that all the police officers in the world should have to wear body cameras because there has been too much going on about police officers hurting or just messing with people and the suspects have no evidence or witnesses.
—Chris Muldrew, senior
Police officers are very prone to criticism these days. They are known for being overly aggressive and have many recordings of police brutality. If police wore body cameras, the solution would be solved. The judge or accuser could see exactly what happened and see exactly what the cop saw. The cameras would change a lot of history, and be the key decider in a case.
There are a lot of positives to cops wearing cameras. There are not many negatives that come to mind. The cameras are lightweight, durable, and small. They do not take up much space or weigh down the police man. They might be a little expensive, but with the right funds the debate against police could be vanished. The truth could come out and finally break the debate of police brutality.
—David Rahner, senior
Should police officers wear cameras? In my opinion, yes. This is in no way, shape, or form an attempt to incriminate police officers or give them a bad reputation. However, the police force has bad people as well as they do good people, and we need to pinpoint these individuals and create a way to check their actions and bring the police force back to a place of respect and prominence in society. If we were to do this, I believe the behavior of police would improve and the minds of the public would be put at ease. This would result in less tensions and better cooperation and coexistence for many years to come.
—JP Martin, junior
Police should wear body cameras considering what has been going on around the world today. Cops are beating people in this world and not getting caught for it. More African Americans are suffering from police than anyone else. This is why they need to have body cameras and live footage on what the situation is more. It will make the police officers think twice about doing something harmful simply because they have power in this world.
—Jaryn Simpson, junior
I think that body cams are a good thing for police officers. The article gives away the statistic that most police agree with my statement as well. They can serve as a piece which records evidence for future cases that might pop up. There are disputes all the time right now because improper logs were taken for the incident that happened.
With the knowledge that you’re being recorded, I know that police and civilians involved will behave better, as they know that there is a camera pointed at them, where their actions can be brought to attention at a later time if it requires it.
In the end, this makes the concept of body cams a good thing.
—Conrad Weiser, senior
Timothy Williams, the author of the article for Upfront Magazine, wrote both arguments for and against the use of body cameras for police officers. I feel that police officers should have to use body cams and that civilians should have access to the videos, except in the cases of footage relating to kids. With all that is going on in the U.S. in the last couple of years, with incidents in regards to Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Thabo Sefalosha, it is sensible for police officers to wear body cameras. Williams claims in the article that research shows that body cameras help de-escalate situations and make both police officers and civilians behave better. If this is true than this seems like a way to make police and civilians safer.
—Tanner Ziacik, senior