The New York Times has an article about the increasing use of wearable video cameras by police departments to record every interaction between officers and the public while they’re on duty. But the article also shows the reluctance of the police officers to accept such surveillance:
William A. Farrar, the police chief in Rialto, Calif., has been investigating whether officers’ use of video cameras can bring measurable benefits to relations between the police and civilians. Officers in Rialto, which has a population of about 100,000, already carry Taser weapons equipped with small video cameras that activate when the weapon is armed, and the officers have long worn digital audio recorders.
But when Mr. Farrar told his uniformed patrol officers of his plans to introduce the new, wearable video cameras, “it wasn’t the easiest sell,” he said, especially to some older officers who initially were “questioning why ‘big brother’ should see everything they do.”
He said he reminded them that civilians could use their cellphones to record interactions, “so instead of relying on somebody else’s partial picture of what occurred, why not have your own?” he asked. “In this way, you have the real one.”
Oh, the irony of police officers complaining about “big brother.” As I’ve pointed out many times, every good police officer should want to have these interactions recorded because they protect them as much as they protect the public. It can protect them from false allegations of misconduct. It’s the ones who routinely engage in such misconduct who are at risk from this kind of surveillance — and those are exactly the ones who need to be recorded at all times.
Like Dispatches on Facebook: