Police New Visibility: Body Cameras

Posted: February 12, 2015 by pavansinghsamra19 in Uncategorized

Body cameras is an new model of ‘policing’s new visibility” that is being merged into the police forces to identify how the police force regulates the law with the crimes they come across. Also, it will target the use of power by the police. A body camera is a set of small device that is attached to the officer’s uniform; within their glass, a button, on their hat. This camera then records their day-to-day work and lasts mostly an entire shift. These cameras can range anywhere from $100 to $1000 dollars depending on quality and effectiveness. Police forces are being given the task to wear these cameras to prevent unnecessary confrontations for that police forces deal with. The idea of police cameras is not based upon on country, yet majority police forces are willing to incorporate into their forces.

The purpose of these cameras is to “have the potential to be a win-win situation” (Stanley, 2013). The use of cameras can be perceived in two ways; one abusive officers being brought to attention of this unnecessary use of force, and also an officer being saved from false accusations of abuse and unprofessional like manner. According to Goldsmith, the recordings of this day-to-day work of the officers have higher chances of invading privacy of the citizens and become stressful and oppressive (Goldsmith, 2010).

Within in New York City, it was estimated a cost of 33 millions dollars for the entire police department of New York City to be armed with body cameras during their duty (Lopez, 2015). However, comparing the 2013 police claims in New York City it cost them $152 million dollars (Lopez, 2015). Stanley argues, that if body cameras can help reduce those claims by a one-fifth of the amount the devices automatically pay for themselves (Lopez, 2015).

Ultimately, the perspective of having body camera active while on duty can also have potential of drawbacks that could benefit the police and public. It will make it difficult for police officers to perform their duty on camera versus off camera. These officers will be recorded every second of their duty visually and vocally. Which means, that these officer cannot even have normal conversations while on duty with each other because their joke or conversation can be used against them, and ultimately; get them fired. However, when their dealing with a crime or any concern regarding the police their entire interrogation will be recorded and submitted to the police department. These daily videos will then be stored for a certain period by the department and then eventually destroyed. The concern comes that citizen be told that they are being recorded for police and public safety and also should the right to receive a copy of the recording whether they were told or not for privacy issues.

A factor that has emerged the use of body camera within the police force is the case of Michael (Mike) Brown. This shooting of Mike Brown, occurred on August 1st 2014, where an 18-year-old black male was shot fatally by a Ferguson police officer, Darren Wilson (CBC, 2014). This cases highlighted a numerous of skin colour cultures protesting for about three weeks in regards of the decision by the jury. In addition, many of the protestors protested violently and unlikely manner; therefore, the police force of Ferguson questioned their safety patrolling these protestors. Therefore, the Ferguson police force was given small body cameras, which were mounted to their uniforms to patrol and supervise the crowd, and the taunts they received from individuals (CTV, 2014). Similarly, the case of Robert D

The use of body cameras has become a major theme that is being analyzed and debated upon whether the body cameras will have an effective or ineffective use within the police force. There is not just one organization, but every organization within the world sees the body cameras beings a positive benefit to the police force. The discussion arises whether or not these will be used in an orderly-like manner. Jay Stanley, in his article analyzes different ways that could prevent the issue of body cameras being misused by the police forces. However, he also address that the challenges that will be faced is the potential of invading privacy and promoting police accountability (Jay Stanley, 2013). It could be a win-win situation only if the policies ensure the protection of the public without becoming surveillance for the public (Jay Stanely, 2013).

This video shares a body camera recording by a Okaloosa Deputy resucing a man from a burning vehicle. The man was trapped inside and he could not help himself out, and the police officers risking their lives break the glass and pull him out before the car blew up. The shows that police are not always misusing the police powers yet go above and beyond their duties to protect the public from any sort of problem. On a personal note, I agree that these body cameras will protect police officers because of two main reasons which have been discussed before: one prevent false accusations and abusive powers; secondly protection to the public. Adding on to these cameras, there should however be limits to what extent the cameras should be used to and under what circumstances with policies clearly indicated on the police department website.


Goldsmith, A. J. (2010). Policing’s New Visibility. Advanced access. 50, 914-934. doi:10.1093/bjc/azq033.

Lopez, G. (2015). Why should police wear body cameras – and why they shouldn’t. Retrieved from http://www.vox.com/2014/9/17/6113045/police-worn-body-cameras-explained.

Reuters, T. (2014). Michael Brown shooting: Ferguson police to get body cameras. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/michael-brown-shooting-ferguson-police-to-get-body-cameras-1.2752146

Stanley, J. (2013). Police body-mounted cameras: within right of policies in place, a win for all. Retrieved from https://www.aclu.org/files/assets/police_body-mounted_cameras.pdf

Stastna, K. (2014). Body cameras: Can they reduce confrontations with police? Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/body-cameras-can-they-reduce-confrontations-with-police-1.2861881

  1. Mike Larsen says:

    Your post includes this sentence “Similarly, the case of Robert D”. It looks like a fragment. Could you elaborate on what you were planning to say here?

    Question: It has been said by some that good policing relies upon the development and practice of trust between police officers and members of the community. Do you think that the introduction of body cameras will enhance trust (by demonstrating a commitment to accountability) or erode it (by introd0ucing a surveillance mechanism into every interaction)?