Editorial

Police Body Cams

Police Body Cams

The newest development in crime fighting in this country is the introduction of body cameras to police officers across all nine divisions. It’s in a testing stage though, since only sixty cameras are available for use at a time, and the pros and cons will be studied at the end of the six month trial.

The police union has since said it will defend any officer who refuses to wear the camera in the absence of any documented guidelines for use. It’s a simple request from the Police Social and Welfare Association, given that the equipment forms part of the officers’ tools in crime fighting, much in the same way batons or guns make up the artillery.

Just last year in Boston, the police union there objected to the body cams, as a six month pilot programme was also launched there, with 100 officers being told to don the equipment. The union argued that officers should not wear them until the demand is included in contract. A judge ruled that it was up to the Police Commissioner, not the union, as to whether officers wear the cameras.
We would expect such a notion would be applicable in the TTPS; however, the association’s demand for documented guidelines is not a bad call. The idea of body cams by local officers is a new move and they should have a clear idea or understanding of how it works, its strengths and weaknesses, and so on.

Though it cannot be tampered with and is turned on and off via directives from the officers’ superiors, we hope the acting Police Commissioner gives this demand some serious thought.

Body cams have been a hot topic in the United States following the police shootings of unarmed African-American men by police. And, just recently in Minneapolis, officials said police must activate their cameras during every call for service or any self-initiated work. That came after a controversy over an officer’s fatal shooting of an unarmed woman there earlier this month.

These examples should be noted by local law enforcement, as its move to implement the body cameras should have some solid initial guidelines, even though it’s in the trial stage. If done properly, the benefits could be worth it, especially with the attempts of boosting the rate of solved crimes.

Web Master

July 31st, 2017

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