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Montreal Union Wants a Camera On Every Policeman's Uniform

timothy posted about a year ago | from the undercover-eh dept.

Canada 320

An anonymous reader writes "The Montreal Policemen's Brotherhood is proposing that officers be equipped with uniform-mounted cameras that can be used to record various interactions. The union says in other jurisdictions where police officers are equipped with point-of-view cameras, the use of force by officers and assaults on officers drops by as much as 60%. One system is currently being tested in Edmonton, Alberta."

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ok (4, Funny)

radiumsoup (741987) | about a year ago | (#43888373)

...facing which way?

Re:ok (1)

sosume (680416) | about a year ago | (#43888453)

One on each shoulder should easily give a 270 angle of view. Add a third in the neck collar and we can start working towards our robot policemen overlords.

Re:ok (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43888501)

With video on the fly, it could prove embarrassing to the officers.

Re:ok (4, Interesting)

radiumsoup (741987) | about a year ago | (#43888521)

my point was perhaps too subtle... the purpose was to acknowledge the ubiquity of mobile video recording devices and the utility they provide while pointing out the apparent change from the traditional "don't film me while I'm working" attitude of most modern police forces. As long as the camera is actively recording the actions of the police, this would be a step forward in ensuring police are better controlled to work within the law. But it only works if they are ALL required to be recorded while on duty. No more double standards with them being allowed to record the public but the public not being allowed to record them.

Re:ok (4, Funny)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year ago | (#43888571)

I though you were implying that because they speak French that it might be better to aim the cameras behind them.

Re:ok (4, Funny)

BrokenHalo (565198) | about a year ago | (#43888701)

Presumably because they fart in your general direction?

About time they stamped out this police brutality.

But (3, Funny)

JustOK (667959) | about a year ago | (#43888383)

They only record in French.

Re:But (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43888509)

They only record when francophones are involved cause the anglos, or square heads as we call them, do nothing but work and chase money and speak with a dry accent eating the last syllable of every word as if speaking is a chore and not a pleasure. The anglos got the rest of Canada anyways so there's no reason for them to pollute Quebec with their presence and if a cop beats the crap out of their tight arses they probably deserve it.

FTFY

Re:But (2, Insightful)

slackware 3.6 (2524328) | about a year ago | (#43888789)

The Anglos have to work all the time to pay for your equalizations payments frenchy.

Frankly, Diane (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43888393)

I'm surprised.

Comes with automatic switch (5, Funny)

paiute (550198) | about a year ago | (#43888403)

The system turns itself off when the taser comes out of its holster.

Re:Comes with automatic switch (2)

CBravo (35450) | about a year ago | (#43888479)

You first taze the camera and then the rest.

Re:Comes with automatic switch (2)

iggymanz (596061) | about a year ago | (#43888533)

the rest is best done old-school with a billy club, much more stress relieving and tactile

Re:Comes with automatic switch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43888777)

Not many officers carry billy clubs where I am. No, they use Kell lights: those nice heavy C-cell 4-battery flashlights that's already in your hands in a dark area and is less likely to get stuck or hung up on something sharp.

Re:Comes with automatic switch (1)

excelsior_gr (969383) | about a year ago | (#43888759)

Did you just say off? I would expect it to be off all the time and switch itself on when the taser comes out and we're down to business.

Re: Comes with automatic switch (2)

coniferous (1058330) | about a year ago | (#43889225)

It was proposed by the police union, so you can pretty much garuntee that turning it off won't be a big deal to them. It really should be on 100% of the time, but I'm sure it will "break" at all the right times.

Re:Comes with automatic switch (2)

cgimusic (2788705) | about a year ago | (#43889221)

The footage gets automatically deleted when requested by someone for a lawsuit against the police.

Why is this marked as insightful? (2)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about a year ago | (#43889229)

There is no citation or evidence provided that this would be how the system works. If you believe that is something the police might want, fine, but that is different than claiming it is.

Something isn't "insightful" because you want to agree with it.

Loaded camera (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43888417)

That camera must be one powerful weapon if it has caused such a great reduction in "assaults on officers." I don't suppose it could be that they were making shit up, and now find it more difficult to do so with video evidence? Could this be extrapolated to suggest that a majority of "resisting arrest" charges are entirely bogus?

Re:Loaded camera (2, Insightful)

oconnorcjo (242077) | about a year ago | (#43888441)

Or perhaps it could be that people don't want to hit a cop now that they know that there is video proof. In some jurisdictions, assaults on police officer charges go nowhere in court (but are supposed to come with real jail time).

Re:Loaded camera (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43888505)

Hey, we're trying to have an anti-cop circle jerk here.

Re:Loaded camera (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43888549)

Just stating the first logical conclusion. Given that it's a certainty the cop knows bout his uniform camera, and an uncertainty that any potential assaulter knows about it, there is a much higher probability that the reduction in assaults is attributable directly to the officer being aware of the camera.

But, hey... ad hominems all around, amirite? Go fuck yourself.

Re:Loaded camera (5, Interesting)

0111 1110 (518466) | about a year ago | (#43889303)

What do you mean by "go nowhere"? I was charged with assaulting a police officer in addition to pretty much every other contempt of cop charge and received a very generous plea bargain offer from the prosecutor with no jail time and only 6 months probation. My attorney argued for 3 months and the judge accepted it. I could only assume the generous offer was due to the fact that the prosecutor either didn't believe the cop's bullshit story or felt there wasn't enough evidence to convict me. There were at least 6 or 7 police witnesses who presumably would have backed up the guy's lies if it had gone to trial. So it does seem strange. It may be that even the prosecutors have stopped believing the cops.

Our local department has this (5, Interesting)

dugancent (2616577) | about a year ago | (#43888425)

Started about a year ago. They are turned on when the shift starts and can't be turned off until the shift has ended.

Mounted on a hat above the right ear and they have sound.

Indiana, by the way.

Re:Our local department has this (2)

dfetter (2035) | about a year ago | (#43889093)

Good for you guys! I'm betting this will really improve officer behavior, but only if the penalties for "malfunctions" are severe, e.g. disciplinary actions against the LEO and never pressing charges against anyone during whose arrest a "malfunction" has occurred.

Re:Our local department has this (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | about a year ago | (#43889191)

Yeah. This is when it conveniently becomes broken (I have a buddy with a brother that is a cop, in Ohio, and this absolutely happens)

Re:Our local department has this (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43889223)

They are turned on when the shift starts and can't be turned off until the shift has ended.

I'm hoping that they get to take their hats off to go to the bathroom.

Re:Our local department has this (1)

Cheerio Boy (82178) | about a year ago | (#43889231)

Started about a year ago. They are turned on when the shift starts and can't be turned off until the shift has ended.

Mounted on a hat above the right ear and they have sound.

Indiana, by the way.

This is absolutely needed. The powers that be forget far too often that they themselves are human and not only make mistakes but are corruptible as well. Kudos to your locals for doing this!

Of course this wouldn't stop a sudden application of silly putty on the lense and/or microphone. The mic would be the better choice there - "I'm sorry sir but we seemed to have had audio transmission issues during that incident."

great for all civil servants (5, Insightful)

wbr1 (2538558) | about a year ago | (#43888433)

As long as there are penalties for 'losing' key footage. Whether by the officer or higher in the chain of command. Otherwise it becomes a selective evidence tool that is easily biased.

Re:great for all civil servants (1)

CBravo (35450) | about a year ago | (#43888483)

All video should be uploaded to a vault where it is supervised by court (why else would you need evidence).

Re:great for all civil servants (3, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#43888499)

As long as there are penalties for 'losing' key footage. Whether by the officer or higher in the chain of command. Otherwise it becomes a selective evidence tool that is easily biased.

This is a problem which can easily be dealt with in the courts. Footage missing? Cop must be lying.

Re:great for all civil servants (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43888993)

This is a problem which can easily be dealt with in the courts. Footage missing? Cop must be lying.

Can be and will be are two very different things.

Re:great for all civil servants (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43889027)

Good thing that no modern democracy have a legal system based on argumentum ad silentio ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_silence ).

Re:great for all civil servants (2)

perrin (891) | about a year ago | (#43889193)

All modern jurisdictions have very tough rules against spoliation of evidence (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spoliation_of_evidence), from which one can draw negative evidentiary inference.

Re:great for all civil servants (1)

cgimusic (2788705) | about a year ago | (#43889251)

I am from the UK and we have a legal system based on that. Our version of the Miranda rights have a section that reads "it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court". I.e. if you say nothing to the police then the jury can be instructed to infer that you made your story up before the trial.

Re:great for all civil servants (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43889305)

That's not argumentum ad silentio.

No modern legal system allows a conviction based on the absence of evidence. Lying by omission is obviously defendable, but then the lie has to eventually be proven by something solid - that something entirely different than proposing to convict someone on the basis of a missing tape.

Re:great for all civil servants (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43888511)

Pretty easy solution there, automatic $100,000 fine for each 1 second gap in recording that can't be accounted for.

As much as your average dirty cop likes busting out the baton and playing tee-ball with a protestor's skull, if the "whoops, the CCTV conked out exactly when we supposedly kicked the shit out of him" costs them money out of pocket, you'll see that habit dry up pretty quick.

make it police proof (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43888443)

I'm all for it. Make sure it can't be turned off. And "losing it" should trigger an automatic suspension.

Re:make it police proof (1)

Skapare (16644) | about a year ago | (#43888911)

Tie it in with a dedicated phone system so it can be sending the pictures back to the police headquarters continuously.

Uh (4, Interesting)

_KiTA_ (241027) | about a year ago | (#43888457)

In the two recent Canadian Police Brutality events, the police DID have cameras on their uniforms.

They turned them off until after the attack was over.

Re:Uh (1)

Trepidity (597) | about a year ago | (#43888647)

Isn't recording space these days cheap/compact enough that they can just record all the time, and not even contain functionality for being turned off? I mean, the officer could still deliberately disable the device, but if it had no on/off switch and they had to overtly damage/destroy it, that would be a higher bar (and a lot easier to punish them for).

Re:Uh (1)

fredklein (532096) | about a year ago | (#43888809)

A piece of tape over the lens disables the video recording, without damaging or destroying the device. For briefer times, the could just put their hand over it 'accidentally'.

Re:Uh (5, Funny)

Calydor (739835) | about a year ago | (#43888929)

With a camera mounted on each shoulder they'll look like they're doing the macarena dance while trying to turn the cameras off.

I approve of this.

Re:Uh (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43888705)

That SHOULD result in default judgement against the police in any sane society.

The word of that camera should trump the value of the word of the police and should actually remove their value. If the camera can't verify what the police said due to malfunction or intentional at such an inopportune time it should make his word worth less than nothing unless it can be proven it failed due to legitimate means which can be verified, such as the plaintiff attacking them and damaging it which could still be seen on camera as it happened.

THAT is how it should be done. Sorry, no turning it off or claiming it malfunctioned without proof and getting caught tampering with it should cost them their job and a felony offense with mandatory jail time.

Re:Uh (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43889007)

Quite strict, arent you? So I guess you are as strict when it comes to felons that arent cops, with your notion of mandatory jail time and all.

(yeah, mandatory jail for a faulty camera, that's so great; I guess we no longer need any courts now, in your opinion)

Re:Uh (2)

tibit (1762298) | about a year ago | (#43889117)

Contemporary electronics are fairly reliable. The chances of the camera failing at the exact moment of confrontation further diminish by a few orders of magnitude the likelihood that a just-in-time malfunction isn't due to intentional tampering with evidence. Cops can't but know that should any court case result from a confrontation, their camera footage is evidence, and if you tamper with it, the court should be handing you your ass on a platter. You're entirely wrong that we don't need the courts now, we need courts precisely so that people who tamper with evidence, no matter what the profession is, are to be held accountable.

Re:Uh (3, Insightful)

jkflying (2190798) | about a year ago | (#43888795)

Yeah, it should be a criminal offence for an officer to turn off their camera during duty hours.

Re:Uh (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43888887)

So... do you want to be in a public restroom with a cop wired for sight and sound while he's having a break on duty? Zero facility for turning it off may not be the Holy Grail of cop accountability here. I am all for giving them no quarter in this but I don't want to sight of reality either.

Re:Uh (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43888989)

That's no problem. This stuff isn't streaming to Youtube or something like that. Footage should only be available by court order. The court isn't going to be interested in the sounds of your loud farts while on the can. If there's an off switch even the honest cops are going to sometimes forget to turn these things back on again and then the corrupt cops can hide in the crowd using that excuse. If the footage really must be disabled for some reason, the cop will need to take off his uniform - not impossible, but a lot of trouble and also something that you can't do by accident.

Re:Uh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43888991)

If that portion of the video is worth requesting as evidence in a court case, then it would definitely be important to keep.

Re:Uh (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43889023)

If the cameras are mounted on his shoulders, all the viewer will see is the urinal he is peeing into or the door of the stall he is sitting in to take a dump. You won't see anything major and in the military and other professions, men actually have to bathe where others can see them anyways, this shouldn't be as big of an issue given the power the are to be entrusted with.

I would approve this on any such officials whether it be Police, Military and even (ESPECIALLY) Politicians. We are their bosses and as such, we should have the ability to verify their actions. One of the pitfalls of being a public servant (even though many see the public as the enemy or a necessary evil at this point and see themselves as a corporate servant instead).

The only thing that keeps me from asking for a live feed of this is the invasion of privacy of the citizens they deal with as part of their jobs.

Re:Uh (1)

tibit (1762298) | about a year ago | (#43889145)

Frankly said, given the slight loss of my privacy vs. loss of accountability for a force that's supposed to uphold the law, I have no problem with the loss of my privacy. And no, this is not a slippery slope.

Re:Uh (2)

tibit (1762298) | about a year ago | (#43889137)

We don't need such a law. A judge can and should impose contempt-of-court sanctions on those who tamper with evidence. If you have a camera and you're in a confrontation, there's no way to play silly and not know that should you tamper with the camera, you're tampering with evidence. If I was a judge, I'd toss whoever tampers with camera footage evidence, whether Joe the plumber or a cop or archbishop Canterbury, in jail for a week and have them pay for an ad in a major local paper admitting to the fact and proclaiming how sorry they are.

Re:Uh (1)

Garybaldy (1233166) | about a year ago | (#43889035)

That happens a lot in the states as well. The footage from the dash camera's always seems to have a problem at crucial times.

Laugh (0)

koan (80826) | about a year ago | (#43888465)

"the use of force by officers and assaults on officers drops by as much as 60%."

I've always said they were just another gang.

Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43888467)

The use of force by officers and assaults BY officers drops by as much as 60% as well.

An active camera... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43888471)

On every *person*, car, dog, street corner, tv, even a loaf of bread.

Reduce assaults? (0, Redundant)

Ottawakismet (2798639) | about a year ago | (#43888495)

It will reduce assaults on police officers? Maybe it will also reduce assaults by police officers too.

Re:Reduce assaults? (1)

KGIII (973947) | about a year ago | (#43888901)

That's what the summary says.

Re:Reduce assaults? (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about a year ago | (#43889155)

They will be sure to turn the camera off before assaulting you.

As long as it goes both ways (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43888515)

Sure, allow the cameras -- so long as they record audio and have no "off" button. Too often dashcams and such end up having 'technical problems' about the same time as suspects 'resist arrest'.

As a victim of police lies and a destroyed life... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43888517)

I asked my lawyer "they recorded everything, right? Their dashcam had to have recorded everything, right? They have audio recorders on their uniform right? I saw the sign that asked them to turn off their recording when I went into booking."

"No, AC, they did not, or at least, what they claim is no recordings."

"But everything they said is a lie."

"You're lucky they didn't claim you attacked them, just that you were hostile."

I have not been able to find a job because this event comes up. I was divorced as a result. The glorious republic of Canada.

Re:As a victim of police lies and a destroyed life (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43888593)

The glorious republic of Canada.

As a real Canadian I'd have expected you to know that Canada isn't a republic.

Re:As a victim of police lies and a destroyed life (2)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about a year ago | (#43889079)

Dominion of Canada... constitutional monarchy.

But I expect he was, badly, trying to make a comparison to the Democratic Peoples' Republic of Korea or some such. What really tips his hand that he's not actually a Canadian is that the question that shows up on job applications in this country is "have you ever been convicted of an offense for which a pardon has not been granted." It's ridiculously easy to get a pardon in this country, an issue which has been the subject of national-level debate in parliament. If he's too stupid to fill out a form and wait 6-8 weeks for his pardon to come through, then he deserves to be flipping burgers, which is a job where they don't even ask that question.

Simply having been accused and acquitted of a crime is *not* grounds for refusing to hire somebody and doesn't even show up on a normal background check. There's absolutely no reason to mention it during the hiring process.

Besides which, most employers won't actually deny you a job if you answer "yes" to that question. They just want to know about it going into it. We had to let somebody go a few months ago because he'd lied and put "no" after having been convicted of fraud, and the irony is that if he had simply said "yes", it wouldn't have affected his eligibility for the job. I guess it's not fraud if you're honest about it. ;)

Re:As a victim of police lies and a destroyed life (2)

tibit (1762298) | about a year ago | (#43889159)

I'm sorry that your significant other was silly enough not to be able to deal with what the life has served you both. I can't understand such relationships. If you're not in "it" together, then what's the point? Lower taxes?

RTFA (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43888531)

From the linked to news item: -
"They are not on all the time, but must be activated and police have to tell the person they are dealing with that they are being videotaped."
So not worth a damn to spot misuse of police powers then.

I put that little rule down to the Canadian sense of Fair play.

Cop: Now sir, before I beat you senseless do you have an objection to being videotaped, its purely to be used for training purposes Ah!

OR

La Police: Maintenant, monsieur, avant que je vous battre insensé avez-vous une objection à être filmé, son purement à être utilisé à des fins de formation, ah!

This would be great if... (1)

swamp_ig (466489) | about a year ago | (#43888543)

it was 'always on' of course.

There will be still some ability for the officer to turn it off however - think about what happens when they go to the bathroom for example. I'm not sure they'd be too keen on having that filmed.

For best use case the camera would send the video footage over the phone network in real-time, along with a GPS and time-stamp information in every frame.

That there almost guarantees a clean police force on the beat.

Re:This would be great if... (0)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#43888769)

think about what happens when they go to the bathroom for example.

With practice, most guys are able to pee without looking down.

Re:This would be great if... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43888897)

What about the police-women?

Re:This would be great if... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43888999)

I wouldn't advise them to pee standing regardless of where they are looking.

Turn the tables (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43888587)

If this comes to the USA, people need to wear T-shirts with language such as "JURY NULLIFICATION". This would force the prosecution to tamper with the evidence (blank out images of text) lest the evidence tamper the jury.

Montreal citizens want a camera (0)

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) | about a year ago | (#43888589)

on every public official. As a Montrealer, I am FED UP of this city's corruption! Never mind that it's a tiny, expensive, boring, conservative, dirty, poorly maintained and grey city, if I have to report every damn penny to two levels of government and have credit agencies know about every little thing I buy...

I want to see every square inch of "public" office, I want to read every character of every email and hear every phone conversation.

What's wrong with that? If I call a private company's phone line I can be recorded for "training purposes", why can't I listen to the people I *PAY* with my egregious taxes? I pay them to party with that money apparently.

I'm fed up of this city and having the pigs film every interaction is just more reason to leave this joke of a city.

"But it was nice when we visited!"

This is usually said by people who can LEAVE this third-world joke.

Re:Montreal citizens want a camera (1)

KGIII (973947) | about a year ago | (#43888931)

Actually, what I usually hear is people explaining how much better Canada is. Don't take that wrong. But, seriously, that's gist of the vast majority of comments I read from Canadians.

Re:Montreal citizens want a camera (1)

Shados (741919) | about a year ago | (#43889241)

So basically you're saying its a typical metro area? And compared to almost all the other metro areas in north america, its dirty cheap, liberal, well maintained and green. Aside a few US states, everywhere has to report $$$ to two levels of governments and the way the credit agencies operate in Canada is far better than in the US.

Wake me up when you can't buy a decent 2 bedroom for 1 million+++ anymore.

we already have that (1)

AndyKron (937105) | about a year ago | (#43888599)

FTA, we already have that where I live in the USA.

A union that wants to do the right thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43888617)

Have I slipped into some strange and wonderful parallel universe?

Dead batteries... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43888635)

Well I feel that batteries will become dead when there's no advantage for police.

my 2 cents.

Not always on, of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43888761)

Sounds like a good idea, until you learn that the plan is for the cameras to be turned on at the officer's discretion only (as confirmed by the police union). You can bet that every time it could be used against an officer, the camera will be off ("forgot to turn it on in the heat of the moment, your honor!").

It protects the police officers too. (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about a year ago | (#43888765)

No false accusations.

And much less likely to wander off into bad behavior.

I personally think policemen should put a camera on when they put on the uniform and keep it on until they take it off.

We also need to recognize that they are human and have more training and suspensions instead of firings for emotional failures as a balance against full time surveillance.

Re:It protects the police officers too. (2)

KGIII (973947) | about a year ago | (#43888947)

What if they need to use the restroom?

Re:It protects the police officers too. (1)

tibit (1762298) | about a year ago | (#43889179)

Yes, what about it? What, you think that you'll be showing the entire shift's worth of footage in court or on local TV news? Could people please stop with the reactionary "but think of xyz!" and actually think themselves?

Re:It protects the police officers too. (1)

KGIII (973947) | about a year ago | (#43889233)

I am thinking for myself and I think the officer, no matter what you think of his privacy rights, isn't always going to want that recorded even if it may only be viewed by a single person, leaked, or viewed ever. They have rights too. Can you please stop with the reactionary nonsense and actually think about someone other than yourself?

Re:It protects the police officers too. (1)

dasunt (249686) | about a year ago | (#43889247)

Maybe have a "sleep for x minutes" switch where it would stop recording, yet start recording again after a certain amount of time has passed. That would protect the privacy of restroom patrons, but disallow the excuse of "I forgot to turn it on".

But what about restroom breaks? (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about a year ago | (#43888781)

It seems like these cameras might produce a lot of accidental porn.

Re:But what about restroom breaks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43888889)

The field of view of the camera would be 180 degrees, so no worries as the donut filled bellies will block view of any tiny penis that are the trademark of people who feel the need to overcompensate by becoming a government paid bully.

Re:But what about restroom breaks? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43889053)

What about female officers?
What about other people in both male and female restrooms? The camera catching two frames of someones wiener at the piss stall or even something mundane as a random woman in in her bra while changing shirts... there'll be lots of such footage, and I'm pretty sure not everyone is happy with being recorded in a public restroom.

The best solution is probably to offer a button to black out the video and sound, but record GPS location and timestamp all the time.
Missing data for 2 min where we see a restroom door at the beginning and at the end, the GPS data pinpointing the shitter? No problem, no inconvenience, just a flip of a button.
Missing data during a road stop and the civilians stopped claim sexual harassment afterwards? Big problem, for the cop, he'd better had the recording on.

captcha: humored

Re:But what about restroom breaks? (1)

tibit (1762298) | about a year ago | (#43889189)

So what that there will be such footage? It normally has nothing to do with any court cases and doesn't have to be introduced into evidence. You don't need to have the entire shift's footage in evidence, and even if you decide to, the judge can enforce some rules as to access to such evidence, up to and including holding whoever leaks it or behaves inappropriately in accessing the evidence in contempt. It's a solved problem, don't make up dumb excuses, pwetty please.

Good IF... (2)

FuzzNugget (2840687) | about a year ago | (#43888987)

All footage is automatically and continually uploaded to servers located in a branch of government with a vested interest in preservation of the footage.

There is no power switch, it is always on, self contained and hardened against direct access without custom, specialized tools.

Any time footage is "missing", the officer is automatically suspended with pay pending an investigation. If it's determined to be a genuine malfunction, the officer can resume work. If it can be reasonably demonstrated, however, that the officer deliberately disabled, tampered with or obstructed the device, they should be forced to pay back any wages received during the suspension and charged for tampering with evidence.

But, really, who am I kidding... in reality, this will be no different than dash cams in every cruiser. Any time there is a hint of officer abuse or brutality, the footage will be mysteriously and conveniently "unavailable", there will be no real oversight to the whereabouts and, "yes, your honor, the camera just happened to malfunction during the exact time of the brutality accusations against me," will be accepted by the courts.

Until we have real oversight by people who genuinely have the public interest in mind over their own, this won't change anything.

What about assaults BY policemen. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43889003)

Because they seem vastly more common nowadays.

Or will the camera switch off when the baton and pepper spray are taken out to start the beating?

assaults on officers do drop, not why you think... (5, Interesting)

SuperBanana (662181) | about a year ago | (#43889005)

the use of force by officers and assaults on officers drops by as much as 60%

Uh huh, and do you know why that is? That's because if you annoy a cop, you get charged with "assault on a police officer" even if you didn't touch them. With a video recorder serving as a witness, the cops know they can't engage in what is commonly called "testilying."

In my city, the charges cops love to slap anyone they don't like with include AOAPO and "disturbing the peace" - the latter of which basically consists of "a crowd gathered because of you."

I knew someone - a sub-5-foot-tall, sub-100-lb girl - whose birthday party was ended by cops because it was too loud. Fair enough. She provides her information to one cop, and then a second cop comes in and asks her for her personal information again a few minutes later. She asks him why - she just gave it to the other cop. He refuses to say why, and she asks him again why he can't get the information from the other cop.

Next thing she remembers, her head is slammed on the countertop and she's in cuffs. Spent the night in jail, and the next day in court answering charges including disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and assault on a police officer.

The judge looks at her, then looks at the cop, who's a burly nearly-6-foot-tall dude, then looks at the charges and says "Seriously? SHE resisted arrest and assaulted YOU? You've got to be kidding me. Dismissed."

Wasted thousands of dollars in legal fees, because some dickhead cop broke the law and filed false charges, lied in his report, and lied in court.

Re:assaults on officers do drop, not why you think (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43889065)

Sounds totally unpartial.

Re:assaults on officers do drop, not why you think (4, Insightful)

0111 1110 (518466) | about a year ago | (#43889209)

Spent the night in jail, and the next day in court answering charges including disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and assault on a police officer.

Something very similar happened to me. The cop even charged me with assault on a police officer with a deadly weapon. A much more serious charge. A felony which could have resulted in many years in prison. Because beating me nearly to death just wasn't sufficient apparently. That deadly weapon charge mysteriously vanished when I appeared in court.

The judge looks at her, then looks at the cop, who's a burly nearly-6-foot-tall dude, then looks at the charges and says "Seriously? SHE resisted arrest and assaulted YOU? You've got to be kidding me. Dismissed."

Unfortunately, being male, I didn't get any such leniency from the judge and now I have "assault and battery on a police officer" on my record. In addition to every other contempt of cop charge the asshole could think of. I wasn't found guilty. I pleaded something similar to "no contest" because the plea bargain offer had no jail time. Just probation and a small fine. I paid thousands in legal fees and have lingering memory problems as a result of the beating I received.

Since my contact with the police was due to a roadblock, I plan to either move to one of the few states where such things are illegal or leave the country entirely for a place where the police are not so violent and dangerous.

If only the cop who beat me had been forced to wear a camera which was required to be on for any of the common contempt of cop charges to be allowed I would have been saved at least from the false charges. I would probably still have been severely injured or even killed but that would have been the end of it.

Almost no point in them (1)

Garybaldy (1233166) | about a year ago | (#43889049)

The police will just turn them off, cover them. missing footage etc.

Re:Almost no point in them (2)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#43889073)

That demonstrates premeditation in whatever follows.

Also, false complaints drop too... (2)

mrbrown1602 (536940) | about a year ago | (#43889063)

As somebody who frequently works with law enforcement, they get blamed for a lot of ridiculous (and completely false) stuff - I've seen officers get accused of assaults (and then exonerated when surveillance footage from a building shows they didn't even touch the suspect). A lot of our officers just recently got uniform-mounted cameras and the footage always shows that the complaints are completely unfounded.

Re:Also, false complaints drop too... (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43889267)

they get blamed for a lot of ridiculous (and completely false) stuff - I've seen officers get accused of assaults (and then exonerated when surveillance footage from a building shows they didn't even touch the suspect)

I don't doubt that, and I, and I suspect most of the people here, have no problem with video being used to exonerate police of false charges. My concern, and that of many others here, is whether it will be reliably used in the other direction, to exonerate people accused of assaulting the police, resisting arrest, etc., or whether "technical difficulties" will frequently arise. I don't think that's an unreasonable suspicion.

BTW, your sig says you're an attorney, and you refer to yourself "as somebody who frequently works with law enforcement". In what capacity? That's hardly an accusation, but would be reasonable in terms of full disclosure.

Camera's aren't there to prevent bad behavior.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43889083)

.. by the cops. In fact, if you read the plan, the push for the cameras is being accompanied by pushing a new law that would make evidence from the cameras inadmissible in cases AGAINST the cops, but admissible without question in cases against YOU (i.e. it can't be thrown out of court for any reason).

That's a statistic? (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43889101)

FTA:

The union says in other jurisdictions where police officers are equipped with point-of-view cameras, the use of force by officers and assaults on officers drops by as much as 60%.

That's a meaningless "statistic", because it's actually two statistics combined. How much did "the use of force by officers" drop by and how much did "assaults on officers" drop by? Considering how much the police love to be monitored when on duty, I wouldn't trust any proposal like this coming from a police union.

So, when you are stopped ... (4, Funny)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#43889207)

... look directly into the camera. Address your remarks to "ladies and gentlemen of the jury", "your honor" or whatever is appropriate. Refer to the officer in the third person.

Re:So, when you are stopped ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43889309)

Why play theater when in 999 out of 1000 cases the footage will be stored for a certain amount of years and then discarded without the need to be seen by anyone, since nothing notable happened?

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