Should police view body worn cameras before writing a report?
Many agencies are struggling to enact organizational policies and best practices so BWCs can be used effectively
By Michael Kashiktchian, Master’s Student, Public Administration, American Military University
The constant improvement of technology, along with the public’s outcry for better police oversight, has made the use of body worn cameras (BWCs) prevalent in law enforcement organizations around the country. However, many agencies are struggling to enact organizational policies and best practices so BWCs can be used effectively.
How Body Worn Cameras Are Used
Body worn cameras are a compact video-recording device attached to a law enforcement officer’s body or uniform for the purpose of recording interactions with the public. BWCs serve multiple purposes, which include:
- collecting evidence during an officer’s investigation
- viewing and evaluating an officer’s actions while on duty
- using the recorded footage as educational material
- confirming the validity of a complaint made against an officer
- comparing recordings to written accounts of a police officer’s encounter with the public
While BWC recordings cannot replace an actual investigation, they can supplement police work and improve police conduct, which is why it is critical for administrators to implement appropriate BWC policies for their departments.
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