Body-worn cameras more than a fad
- Written by Amy Dinsmore
- October 1 2015
Every new technology is met with a bit of skepticism. Is the marketing hype real? Will it actually make a difference proportionate to its cost? Will it end up being a fad? This is even true in sectors like law enforcement, where solutions like body-worn cameras have been getting plenty of hype in recent years. However, recent news indicates that the technology is much more than a passing fad, as many police departments are embracing the solution and expecting it to have a huge impact on operations.
Body-worn cameras across the country
Body-worn cameras are a somewhat controversial issue, but it is clear that the controversy is being replaced by pragmatism and a recognition that cameras are a boon for citizens and police alike. This is clear through a variety of projects across the U.S.:
Cameras in Colorado Springs
A recent Fox News report explained that the Colorado Springs Police Department is engaging in a program to purchase approximately 500 body-worn police cameras, ensuring that every officer who regularly interacts with the public has a camera. The project is being funded by a $600,000 grant, and one officer told the news source that the program ends up benefiting everybody involved by creating neutral transparency.
Cameras in Pottsville, Pennsylvania
A new pilot program for body-worn cameras is underway in Pottsville, where the bureau of police has worked with the local government to get permission to move forward on a body-worn camera initiative. The idea was unanimously approved by the city council, the Republican Herald reported.
Cameras in Tulsa, Oklahoma
A grant from the Justice Department will provide upwards of half a million dollars to support the Tulsa Police in a body-worn camera program. One officer told the News 9 that police will benefit from the evidence offered by cameras.
Cameras in D.C.
The nation’s capital is also getting in on the body-worn camera program, as a $1 million grant will support investments in the district, CBS DC reported. The Mayor’s Office is also behind the project, and will provide the necessary funding beyond the grant being made available.
Cameras in Austin, Texas
Body-worn cameras aren’t in place in Austin yet, but the police department recently held a forum around its plans to move forward on cameras in the near future. A Statesmen report on the event highlighted that while there are some concerns about privacy surrounding the body-worn camera issue, the reality is that those issues can be assuaged with adequate policy control, and the benefits are too good to be ignored.
Making cameras work for your department
These projects may be fairly small on their own, and none are particularly unique. However, they emphasize that cameras are being widely accepted and funded from diverse sources. Body-worn cameras are a reality in modern policing, but the privacy concerns that came up in Austin are real. This is where advanced policy management software is so important. Law enforcement agencies diving in on body-worn cameras can simplify this process through cost-efficient document management software that simplifies policy creation, distribution and compliance measures to ensure that all officers know what is expected of them at all times.