Acting in self defense or over-reacting? That’s one of the questions authorities hope putting body cameras on police officers will help answer.
“Body cameras are another way to protect the public from police misconduct and also protect police officers from false complaints,” said Sgt. Harvey Reed of the Palm Springs Police Department.
PSPD began looking into the technology a year ago and in October started to test different makes and models of cameras.
Most recently they’ve been trying a clip-on camera that attaches to an officer’s shirt below the collar from the brand VieVu, which claims to be deployed at over 4,000 agencies in 16 countries..
“It shows the area directly in front of the officer, slightly to the left and right, records in color and in sound,” said Sgt. Reed.
Most Americans are overwhelmingly for the technology, hoping it will increase transparency, prevent excessive force and ease tensions between police and minorities.
“We have false ideas of what cops are doing so we never know unless we can see for ourselves, so everything would be cleared up about how everything went down,” said Kalei Bragg of Palm Springs.
“It’s just something extra for his safety and for our safety,” said Hope Watson of Palm Springs.
But there are also serious concerns, including the public’s access to the footage.
One anonymous Washington activist has been making blanket requests for body camera footage from various Washington state police departments and posting them on YouTube.
And there’s also the question of privacy.
“When policies and procedures are developed, privacy expectations will be taken into consideration,” said Sgt. Reed.
The cameras are expected to be implemented some time next year.