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Cameras On Cops: Coming To a Town Near You

Soulskill posted about 8 months ago | from the for-the-record dept.

Crime 264

An anonymous reader writes "The trend of police officers using body-mounted cameras is going nationwide. As we discussed last month, the NYPD is pondering the cameras, and the LAPD is actively testing them. A town in California (population ~100,000) has tested them with seeming success: incidents involving officers using force have dropped more than half, and citizen complaints have dropped almost 90%. '[C]ops are required to turn on their cameras in any confrontation with a suspect or citizen. The footage is uploaded to computers when they return to the station, and is typically retained for one to three months.' The town's success is even drawing interest from police departments in other countries. The ACLU likes the idea, but has problems with it in practice, so they're opposing the trend (PDF). They worry about privacy abuses, and they want citizens caught on camera to be allowed equal access to the footage."

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Broken camera (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46485103)

Yeah, but when the camera is obstructed accidentally, what's going to happen? NOTHING. There is NO police accountability anymore.
 
I just read about a cop yesterday who shot a 70-year-old in the chest because he pulled a cane out of the car. Look up the story. It was completely unjustifiable, and there was no recourse. Black kids beaten up because they look black, and NO RECOURSE. Gay kid kicked in the head and arrested because he had a picture of his "BFF" in his wallet which he saw the cop going through? NO RECOURSE.
 
PAPERS, PLEASE! *THWACK!*

Re:Broken camera (5, Insightful)

GerryGilmore (663905) | about 8 months ago | (#46485133)

Look, there are always going to be abuses of ANY system, but anything that helps raise the bar of accountability is inherently a Good Thing(TM) so please stop the whining about how it's not totally perfect.

Re:Broken camera (4, Insightful)

lgw (121541) | about 8 months ago | (#46485293)

This! Every system can be defeated, but each new system that has to be defeated is good. Plus, for anything serious more than one cop will be there, and stories about "accidental damage to devices" become even less likely to fly when it coincidentally affects all 6 officers who responded to the same incident, and no one else that day.

Re:Broken camera (2, Insightful)

Comrade Ogilvy (1719488) | about 8 months ago | (#46485559)

Also most incidents of bad behavior start off with police officers who walk in ambiguous situations with the initial intention to behave professionally (e.g. the officers who beat up Rodney King were not intending to lose control of their emotions and the situation when the encounter started). Those police officers will not turn off their cameras.

Re:Broken camera (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46485951)

Also most incidents of bad behavior start off with police officers who walk in ambiguous situations with the initial intention to behave professionally (e.g. the officers who beat up Rodney King were not intending to lose control of their emotions and the situation when the encounter started). Those police officers will not turn off their cameras.

Is "most" your guess, or do you actually have any evidence? (Although, I suppose it depends what you mean by "behave professionally"...)

Re:Broken camera (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46485383)

Yeah we should just keep our mouths shut and let the abuses continue.

Re:Broken camera (2)

spacepimp (664856) | about 8 months ago | (#46485403)

I smell what you're steppin in. I'd like to make certain the data is only accessible for a particular instance or violation. It shouldn't be allowed to be used for mass population facial recognition, or NSA data grabs.

Why not use with facial recognition? (2)

LordZardoz (155141) | about 8 months ago | (#46485887)

If an officer with a camera is in the presence of a man who facial recognition flags as a possible match for someone with an open warrant out on them, it would probably be a good thing for the officer to be alerted about the match.

Now, of course what I am thinking of is the situation where some guy with an open murder warrent in Florida is spotted laying low in Wyoming. Having that guy picked up is probably a good thing.

I wonder exactly what sort of abuse you foresee with that situation? I am sure there are things that can go wrong.

END COMMUNICATION

Re:Broken camera (2)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about 8 months ago | (#46485617)

so please stop the whining about how it's not totally perfect

You must be new here.

This is Slashdot, where perfect is the enemy of good, and the edge use-case wins, EVERY time.

Re:Broken camera (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46485177)

Im against this unless records can be retrieved and reviewed in cases of alleged police misconduct. Also, any footage obtained before the miranda rights are read should not be admissible against a defendant. No "implied consent" should apply. The accused should be informed that they are being recorded or it can't be used against them in a criminal proceeding (rights against self-incrimination). Of course if someone falsely accuses a police department of misconduct and it the tapes can prove no misconduct, then wonderful. But I know this will be abused greatly and disproportionately against poor (and minority) communities.

Re:Broken camera (2)

mythosaz (572040) | about 8 months ago | (#46485295)

The accused should be informed that they are being recorded or it can't be used against them in a criminal proceeding (rights against self-incrimination)

IANAL, but it'll be like any other police recording. Spontaneous admissions will likely still be admissible, but questioning would likely be subject to Miranda rules.

*shrug*

Re:Broken camera (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46485431)

The right against self incrimination is the right to refuse to provide evidence yourself.
It is not the right to hide in plain sight.

Re:Broken camera (1)

MitchDev (2526834) | about 8 months ago | (#46485489)

That would block any and all security videotapes from being used, since at the time of the crime being commited, the crooks haven't been arrested and Miranda-ized for them yet....

Re:Broken camera (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46485369)

Black kids beaten up because they look black, and NO RECOURSE.

But that was ASSAULT kids. They are more dangerous and need to be restricted because of the aggressive colour.

Re:Broken camera (1, Insightful)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 8 months ago | (#46485695)

You may want to look up the word "unjustifiable".

The shooting [dailymail.co.uk] may have been stupid and tragic, but it's pretty easily justified. Watching the video, the man gets out of his truck without being asked to, ignores the officer calling to him, then pulls a long thin object out of a holder in the back of the cab, which he immediately swings toward the officer. The officer, upon seeing what looks like a small rifle or shotgun aimed at him, shoots the apparently-armed man. The officer didn't realize it was a cane, and the man didn't think it'd look like a gun.

It was pretty obviously a mistake. What's right now is not to whine about "police abuse", but rather to heal the man (who survived and is reportedly doing well), understand that Hanlon's Razor is still valid, and move on.

Re:Broken camera (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46485729)

Dear Idiot,

Why wouldn't the cop just RUN FOR COVER? This kind of thing happens ALL THE TIME.

Yours,
Smarter Child

Re:Broken camera (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46485813)

Because cars are concealment not cover http://www.theboxotruth.com/do... [theboxotruth.com]

Re:Broken camera (1)

neilo_1701D (2765337) | about 8 months ago | (#46485739)

One camera might get accidentally obstructed, but suppose a couple of cops turn up. If all the cameras are suddenly malfunctioning, that's looking less like technology and more like collusion.

Either that, or some wise-arse built a camera jammer.

equal footage is the thing.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46485119)

if it is not equal footage and footage is not able to be retrieved from a FOFA or similar request, then it is unjust. If the cops have nothing to hide, it should be freely available for any defendant and for review in a public forum regarding police misconduct.

Re:equal footage is the thing.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46485129)

i meant equal access....

Won't do any good. (5, Insightful)

rahvin112 (446269) | about 8 months ago | (#46485125)

Fact is as long as they can turn the cameras on or off and the video is in police custody this will do almost nothing to reduce police abuse. Either the camera will be off, the video will be "lost" or the recording device will be "broken". They want the video for convictions, but they will make damn sure the video is lost or the camera is off when they go to beat the shit out of some innocent person.

They should be required to wear camera, the cameras should record while they are on shift and video should be stored by an independent third party. Any missing footage should result in someone being fired.

Re:Won't do any good. (4, Funny)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 8 months ago | (#46485207)

Yeah, but it's great for when you need admissible footage of some criminal screaming "DICK JONES! I WORK FOR DICK JONES! HE OWNS THE COPS!"

Re:Won't do any good. (4, Insightful)

mythosaz (572040) | about 8 months ago | (#46485263)

A lot of the good (from the police perspective) is that people don't act like jerks when they're clearly being filmed. Amazingly you're less likely to be a dick to cops when the camera is on you. In-car cameras turn on and off automatically when they have the lights and sirens on. Pull a guy over, and video gets shot - period. Wearables don't have that yet, but we'll get there.

I know that even mentioning this on /. gets you modded to oblivion, but the overwhelming majority of police are good people with a genuine desire to do good in the world -- and they're not out there looking to bust heads and turn off their cameras...especially in a world where every last person on a planet has their own camera and might catch it. There's obviously a good number of well documented "bad cop" cases, but there's a lot of cops, and bad cop stories make news, because it's a big violation of our trust.

The ACLU and others will fight for transparency with those videos - and the videos will keep cops and people safer.

Re:Won't do any good. (4, Insightful)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | about 8 months ago | (#46485311)

Not only this -- I suspect that a large part of the 90% drop in complaints has to do with the fact that it makes it a lot harder for people to lie about their interaction with a police officer.

Re:Won't do any good. (3, Interesting)

smooth wombat (796938) | about 8 months ago | (#46485471)

makes it a lot harder for people to lie about their interaction with a police officer.

I remember a case where a woman claimed she was beaten in the back of a patrol car by the two responding officers. Too bad for her there was an in-car camera pointed to the back seat which clearly showed her yelling and screaming, telling the cops to stop beating her, and she was the only one in the scene the whole time.

Re:Won't do any good. (2)

PRMan (959735) | about 8 months ago | (#46485847)

She even banged her forehead into the cage repeatedly IIRC.

Re:Won't do any good. (5, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 8 months ago | (#46485477)

Not only this -- I suspect that a large part of the 90% drop in complaints has to do with the fact that it makes it a lot harder for people to lie about their interaction with a police officer.

I agree with this, BUT...

Having been a victim of what I definitely consider to be police abuse... in a situation in which video that was clearly being made somehow later "went missing", I also have to agree that this very much works both ways.

I agree with the ACLU, to the extent that I agree there should be independent oversight of these videos, and any "missing" video should be a cause for reprimand at the very LEAST.

Because I also happen to live in an area that has experienced many years of police "incidents" in which innocent people somehow end up injured or dead, but there was no independent investigation, and the internal "investigations" have almost invariably exonerated the policeman, even when no reasonable person looking at the same evidence would (or does) conclude that no wrong had been committed.

I agree that most police are probably fine people. I even have relatives who are or have been police. But the few who aren't good can cause a hell of a lot of damage, especially when there is more than one of them and they scratch each others' backs.

Re:Won't do any good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46485483)

...the fact that it makes it a lot harder for people to lie about their interaction...

On both sides.

Re:Won't do any good. (4, Insightful)

jythie (914043) | about 8 months ago | (#46485577)

Yeah, but one side has the ability to mysteriously disappear the recordings while the other does not.

Re:Won't do any good. (3, Interesting)

SecurityGuy (217807) | about 8 months ago | (#46485637)

IIRC, there's some evidence principle that if you should have records of a thing and I claim those records exonerate me, if you can't provide the records, then the court assumes they say what I claim they do. A principle like that would work well here. If you had or should have had camera footage of our interaction and I claim you punched me in the nose, if your recording is "lost" or your camera was "broken", then you punched me in the nose.

If ya don't like that, don't lose your recording and make sure your cameras work.

Re:Won't do any good. (3, Insightful)

anagama (611277) | about 8 months ago | (#46485893)

A picture is worth a thousand words, but a jury will sleep through a negative inference instruction.

Re:Won't do any good. (3, Insightful)

Copid (137416) | about 8 months ago | (#46485517)

This is the best part of it IMO. It doesn't matter whose fault the problems were. Was it the suspect misbehaving? Was it an abusive cop? Is it a liar trying to get an officer in trouble after the fact? On the whole, it's a mix of all of them, but we don't need to know the actual mix to appreciate the fact that it seems to be better for everybody.

It's very hard for police unions to fight against something that clearly reduces their physical danger and exposure to complaints. If they save face by pretending that the cameras are making the "bad guys" behave and that it wasn't a police problem in the first place, that's fine by me.

fascist apologist (4, Insightful)

Uberbah (647458) | about 8 months ago | (#46485653)

I suspect you should have a good chat with Kelly Thomas and revise your storyline. Or read up on LEO departments stealing millions from people not convicted of any crime via "asset forfeiture". Or how hundreds of thousands of mostly black and brown men are stopped in NYC without probable suspicion under "stop and frisk".

Re:fascist apologist (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 8 months ago | (#46485709)

Texas stealing from motorists along I-10, and NYC's stop-and-violate are, undeniably, bullshit - and that comes from a guy living in Arizona :)

...but it doesn't mean that cameras on cops probably isn't a good idea.

Heck, it might even shed light on how bullshit your other scenarios are.

Re:fascist apologist (1)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | about 8 months ago | (#46485811)

I suspect you should have a good chat with Kelly Thomas and revise your storyline.

What storyline -- that sometimes people lie about what police do? Do you seriously believe that doesn't happen? And anyone who believes it does is a fascist?

Re:fascist apologist (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 8 months ago | (#46485849)

Any support for police on /. is you being part of the corrupt system, maaaan.

It's like arguing with creationists who shout Piltdown Man! Piltdown Man! to explain why all science is bullshit, and the earth is 6,000 years old.

Re:Won't do any good. (2)

Comrade Ogilvy (1719488) | about 8 months ago | (#46485481)

I generally agree.

I would also suspect that the police officers recognize that if the recording shows the first words out of their mouth sound professional and reasonably polite, then they are home free in the eyes of the jury if the suspect suddenly seems hostile. Sounding professional and polite is also likely to illicit less hostile responses.

For most police officers, this is no change in behavior. But there are surely some marginal individual officers who will build better habits when they see how it serves their personal interests.

Re:Won't do any good. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46485565)

the overwhelming majority of police are good people with a genuine desire to do good in the world -- and they're not out there looking to bust heads and turn off their cameras

Then I'll ask what I always do-

Why don't they arrest the cops who do?

A cop who doesn't 'bust heads' isn't a good cop. At best, he's neutral. A 'good' cop is one who actively deals with the bad cops. Gathers evidence against them, arrests them, and testifies against them.

Re:Won't do any good. (5, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 8 months ago | (#46485569)

I know that even mentioning this on /. gets you modded to oblivion, but the overwhelming majority of police are good people with a genuine desire to do good in the world -- and they're not out there looking to bust heads and turn off their cameras...especially in a world where every last person on a planet has their own camera and might catch it. There's obviously a good number of well documented "bad cop" cases, but there's a lot of cops, and bad cop stories make news, because it's a big violation of our trust.

The problem isn't a small minority of bad cops, it's the alleged majority of good cops that don't immediately report and ostracize the bad cops.

You end up with a police culture that intentionally turns a blind eye to bad behavior.
That's not lawful good, no matter how you try and spin it.

Re:Won't do any good. (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 8 months ago | (#46485669)

Cops, like everyone else, work in a world that's neither black nor white.

Like racism or the acceptance of gays, I think changes behind the blue line are largely generational, and mostly vanishing -- but even so, they present complicated decisions for the people involved. I agree that looking the other way is a problem, but I also think it's something that certainly isn't like it was in my father's generation, and I'm sure it'll be better when my children are grown.

My opinion, anyway.

Re:Won't do any good. (4, Informative)

JackieBrown (987087) | about 8 months ago | (#46485791)

I was dating a female sheriff. She was laughing about how a police friend of hers would like to sneak E in his dates drinks and how one girl caught him and swapped drinks.

The fact that she found it funny, that all of his police friends knew he was date raping these women, really put a dent in my view of the police.

And the worst thing is, they would probably treat a civilian that did the same thing as a filthy monster.

Re:Won't do any good. (3, Insightful)

mythosaz (572040) | about 8 months ago | (#46485815)

You reported your friend too, right ?

Re:Won't do any good. (2)

JackieBrown (987087) | about 8 months ago | (#46485921)

Wow, it didn't even occur to me to report it. But you are right, I should have.

Nonsense (4, Insightful)

Uberbah (647458) | about 8 months ago | (#46485605)

A lot of the good (from the police perspective) is that people don't act like jerks when they're clearly being filmed.

Everyone knows that cops have had video cameras mounted in their cars, for decades. Neat how you skipped the parts of the summary talking about how police violence and complaints have dropped dramatically where these cameras have been used.

Almost like it's the cops who are the real jerks here. Interesting.

but the overwhelming majority of police are good people with a genuine desire to do good in the world -- and they're not out there looking to bust heads and turn off their cameras...especially in a world where every last person on a planet has their own camera and might catch it

The problem with the "aww, it's just a few bad apples" canard is that one bad one rots the whole barrel. When all your "good cops" are willing to commit perjury to cover up for the "bad apples", there are no good cops.

Re:Nonsense (2)

mythosaz (572040) | about 8 months ago | (#46485755)

I'll ignore your "all cops are perjurers" tirade.

As to the rest:

A lot of the good (from the police perspective) is that people don't act like jerks when they're clearly being filmed.

Everyone knows that cops have had video cameras mounted in their cars, for decades. Neat how you skipped the parts of the summary talking about how police violence and complaints have dropped dramatically where these cameras have been used.

Almost like it's the cops who are the real jerks here. Interesting.

It's almost like both sides benefit from there being a camera on them.

Cameras help.

Which side of the confrontation is the problem is a matter for (people like you) to debate.

Re:Won't do any good. (5, Insightful)

FuzzNugget (2840687) | about 8 months ago | (#46485905)

the overwhelming majority of police are good people with a genuine desire to do good in the world

Any cop who consciously neglects to report a corrupt colleague or subordinate is equally corrupt.

Are you really suggesting the "overwhelming majority" of "good people" in uniform have no idea what their colleagues and subordinates are up to and are completely unaware of their corruption? Do you have idea how minutely detailed the paperwork is required to be and how glaringly obvious it is when details are "missing" or plainly false?

Has there ever been a single situation where one corrupt jackass is tazing some innocent law-abider for "non-compliance" and one of the five other cops standing around him said, "what the fuck are you doing? You can't just torture someone into submission!" ... of course not, they readily assist him by wrenching the victim's arms to put him/her in cuffs to be dragged into the cruiser (or worse).

Until we get rid of this "protect the brotherhood above all else" attitude that's heavily ingrained in police culture, corruption will continue to reign and continually worsen.

Re:Won't do any good. (2)

sharknado (3217097) | about 8 months ago | (#46485273)

I wouldn't say it will do 'almost nothing', since the stats clearly show otherwise.

Still, if police were *required* to submit video evidence for any trial that involves an officer or have the case dismissed, it would certainly cut down on police corruption. Police wouldn't be able to use the 'oh, my camera was broken' or 'I forgot to turn it on' as an excuse.

Re:Won't do any good. (1)

PRMan (959735) | about 8 months ago | (#46485883)

Once it becomes commonplace and accepted, the jury will be very unlikely to take an officer's word if their camera "malfunctioned".

Re:Won't do any good. (4, Informative)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | about 8 months ago | (#46485277)

Fact is as long as they can turn the cameras on or off and the video is in police custody this will do almost nothing to reduce police abuse. Either the camera will be off, the video will be "lost" or the recording device will be "broken". They want the video for convictions, but they will make damn sure the video is lost or the camera is off when they go to beat the shit out of some innocent person.

And yet, the actual evidence cited in the summary shows the exact opposite result of your theory.

Kind of funny, considering that you also posted a comment [slashdot.org] about how the anti-vaccination movement ignores real evidence that contradicts their views.

Re:Won't do any good. (1)

a whoabot (706122) | about 8 months ago | (#46485711)

The results show that use of force and complaints are down. How is that the "exact opposite" of his theory? Maybe most of the complaints that were prevented would have been frivolous. Maybe most of the use of force that stopped would have been appropriate: I.e., the cameras cause those interacting with the police to behave better. Maybe most of the abuse is intentional: If that's the case, then there is nothing strange about hypothesis that the police intending to be abusive would also intend to turn off the cameras when they intend to be abusive.

There's no reason to assume that he "ignores real evidence".

Re:Won't do any good. (1)

rahvin112 (446269) | about 8 months ago | (#46485795)

Ooo a stalker!

Allow me to rebut! A drop in complaints does NOT mean there has been a drop in misconduct. If that was the case there would have been drops in misconduct when cameras were installed in cars (there wasn't). This is because, as I noted, when cops do bad things the video suddenly isn't available, either because it was turned off, the tape was "lost" or the equipment was "broken" and couldn't record.

I fully support and attempted to articulate the ACLU view on this, that cameras can work, but only if precautions are taken to ensure that what I described doesn't happen. Remember that old saying about statistics. The evidence presented in the linked report does not show what you've been lead to believe it shows.

Re:Won't do any good. (1)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | about 8 months ago | (#46485891)

This is because, as I noted, when cops do bad things the video suddenly isn't available, either because it was turned off, the tape was "lost" or the equipment was "broken" and couldn't record.

Your argument doesn't make sense. Why would people file complaints of actual police misconduct when there's no camera available, but suddenly stop filing those complaints when the camera was there (even if the footage was "lost")?

And that also doesn't address the other statistic, a reduced number of incidents using force. What, are those incidents no longer being reported because officers can throw away the footage? That doesn't make sense either.

Re:Won't do any good. (5, Interesting)

sjames (1099) | about 8 months ago | (#46485283)

It will never happen, but if a law was passed that when the video is unavailable, the citizen's report is presumed to be true and complete, I'll bet those cameras would suddenly get a lot more reliable.

Re:Won't do any good. (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 8 months ago | (#46485397)

Until the day the first rapist or murderer discovers the camera really was broken - at which point the media will rally against this 'loophole' that allows serious criminals to 'get off on a technicality' and there will be immense public pressure to undo it.

Re:Won't do any good. (1)

sjames (1099) | about 8 months ago | (#46485839)

I'm fairly sure there would be physical evidence in the case of rape or murder. The cop's conduct would have little to do with it and his eye-witness testimony would be unnecessary. In the case of rape, there would also be the victim's testimony.

Re:Won't do any good. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46485323)

Amen.

I just installed cameras in my car to prove the next time a cop tailgates me for over 20 miles nearly touching my bumper.

I got annoyed at him and changed lanes right next to another car so he couldn't stay behind me endangering my safety. Then he turns his lights on and pulls me over only to pull up next to me and say that I should not have made a maneuver to keep him from tailgating.

I bitched him out right then and there and said that at 70mph the proper following distance is more than the 2 feet he was using. I then threatened to file a complaint for harassment. As a clean record safe driver in an import with a big spoiler.... they cannot legally tail gate me for over 20 miles without it being harassment.

Run my plate, see I'm clean, get the FUCK off my ass and quit endangering my safety should we need to emergency brake. Now I have cameras to prove next time this happens. I'm tired of being harassed in Michigan for not buying american. Americans aren't smart enough to make a 300 horsepower four wheel drive small car..... But these cops seem to love Mustangs and harass imports like no tomorrow.

Can't wait to upload the next encounter to youtube and make the officer an internet sensation!

Re:Won't do any good. (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | about 8 months ago | (#46485377)

I assure you if a camera was supposed to be 'on', and it wasn't, any reasonable prosecutor will throw out the case if the defense refuses to plead guilty. Don't be surprised if jurys are told that the footage should have existed but doesn't.

Re:Won't do any good. (1)

PetiePooo (606423) | about 8 months ago | (#46485407)

Any missing footage should result in someone being fired.

Agreed.

There is one plus side to ubiquitous cameras operated by the police: It will be harder for the police to justify denying us the ability to record our interactions with them. Some [cbslocal.com] police [cbslocal.com] departments [gothamist.com] haven't gotten the memo [politico.com] yet... [popularmechanics.com]

Re:Won't do any good. (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about 8 months ago | (#46485519)

Fact is as long as they can turn the cameras on or off and the video is in police custody this will do almost nothing to reduce police abuse.

The results dispute your claim:

incidents involving officers using force have dropped more than half, and citizen complaints have dropped almost 90%

Re:Won't do any good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46485705)

I wouldn't say almost nothing. A lot of abuse happens with fuzzy requirements. If it is clearly stated that an officer is supposed to record before/during an incident as a strict requirements, most officers who want to follow the rules will do so. Most abuse does not happen from people who are willingly/purposefully overstepping the line, but due to emotions or gradual escalation. Cultural weight in the form of "oh yeah, someone is actually going to be watching what I'm doing" can go far.

You're never going to stop the determined abusers, but if you turn the heat up you can make the cost of casual abuse pretty high.

Re:Won't do any good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46485941)

Either the camera will be off, the video will be "lost" or the recording device will be "broken".

That is standard procedure for the Seattle PD, they routinely lie to the courts saying any camera footage is "unavailable" if it is helpful to the defense or shows illegal activity on the part of the police. In a couple of cases the defense has even been able to prove in open court that "deleted" video actually wasn't and thus have charges dropped against their client. But, US courts still REFUSE to prosecute police or police officials for perjury.

more episodes of Cops (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46485127)

Cool, more episodes of Cops!

Re:more episodes of Cops (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46485441)

Or maybe more episodes of "Friends". [youtube.com]

It's all fun and games until the NSA gets involved (4, Interesting)

calzones (890942) | about 8 months ago | (#46485173)

Just wait, til the cops start uploading all their footage to a central server for the NSA to add to its collection so they can start cataloging every social interaction that cops see while on their beat. Someone who's face matches a potential subject of interest in a database will get flagged when they show up on the footage and the NSA will then start tracking them based on geolocation data in the footage.

Re:It's all fun and games until the NSA gets invol (1)

Enfixed (2423494) | about 8 months ago | (#46485797)

I fail to see why police video footage being used to help the NSA track a person of interest is a bad thing? Sounds like the most valid example of proper resource use I've heard in a while....

Re:It's all fun and games until the NSA gets invol (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46485853)

Solution: Live feed upload to YouTube, Why let the NSA have all the fun?

Just try to do the same (3, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about 8 months ago | (#46485229)

Run around and point a video cam at a cop.

Or ... better don't.

Prediction (3, Funny)

letherial (1302031) | about 8 months ago | (#46485239)

I predict that these 'cameras' will have a higher then normal fail rate.

When (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46485503)

when the car stops, it's turned on..

Does it record sound? (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | about 8 months ago | (#46485279)

Do these record sound as well? How legal is this in an all party state, where everyone has to consent to being recorded and a suspect refuses?

Re:Does it record sound? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46485467)

Are you in public? Then you have no expectation of privacy.

Re:Does it record sound? (1)

asylumx (881307) | about 8 months ago | (#46485507)

Most police already wear "body recorders" which capture anything audible while on duty.

Re:Does it record sound? (3, Funny)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about 8 months ago | (#46485593)

If I really want to tell the cops to shut off all of their cameras, I'm sure they will be happy to oblige.

Whoops... (1)

Ramley (1168049) | about 8 months ago | (#46485291)

I can already hear the excuses when the footage is "lost" over the one controversy an officer might have. Or (as previously mentioned), the camera magically shut itself off.

Whoops

Re:Whoops... (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | about 8 months ago | (#46485399)

And, how upset do you get when there is creative editing of "bystander" video when the unedited version of the footage comes out?

Rialto (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46485309)

FYI, "a town" is Rialto.

Everyone needs one now. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46485339)

Just like those crazy Russians, we all need our own cameras now.

Fraud is the norm in an ever increasingly adversarial "civilization".

Incidents dropped by 50%, I wonder why? (3, Insightful)

Jaime2 (824950) | about 8 months ago | (#46485411)

So, when cops have cameras, reported incidents of police using force dropped by half. I believe that means that 50% of uses of force were unwarranted or unnecessary, otherwise why would they have stopped?

This sound like pretty clear evidence that police think they can get away with bending the law as long as no one (except the victim) sees them.

Re:Incidents dropped by 50%, I wonder why? (1)

blueg3 (192743) | about 8 months ago | (#46485493)

This sound like pretty clear evidence that police think they can get away with bending the law as long as no one (except the victim) sees them.

This is the LAPD we're talking about. I think that fact was already pretty well-known.

Re:Incidents dropped by 50%, I wonder why? (3, Insightful)

Copid (137416) | about 8 months ago | (#46485583)

Either that or people see cameras on them and are less likely to run or resist arrest. But most likely a mixture of the two. I'm sure there's a lot of misbehavior on both sides when the cameras are off. It looks like the cameras are a big win for everybody.

Re:Incidents dropped by 50%, I wonder why? (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about 8 months ago | (#46485609)

Your explanation is a possible one, but it is not the only one.

A) The general public would know about the initiative. Being recorded works both ways, it makes everyone think about their actions more, cops and civilians alike.
B) It's possible that the video encourages cops to be more polite and less aggressive because they know the video has their back if something gets out of hand.
C) It's possible that the video encourages cops to be more polite and less aggressive because they are more likely to get in trouble for it if they step out of line.

Personally, if I had to guess, I'd bet that most of the change comes from B, though indirectly. I'd be willing to pay money that the first few days with the camera officers were extremely self conscious about their actions, less aggressive and more polite in their interactions. I'm guessing the cops saw how much easier and safer their jobs can be by being less aggressive and confrontational.

Re:Incidents dropped by 50%, I wonder why? (3, Insightful)

Megane (129182) | about 8 months ago | (#46485715)

You forgot D) it's possible that some or many of the reports of excessive force were bullshit, and this weeds out false accusations.

The ACLU has a good point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46485451)

You definitely need to be able to copy the footage before some unscrupulous police department runs it through a video editor.

Forget when they get back (1)

MitchDev (2526834) | about 8 months ago | (#46485455)

It should be streaming to a central, offsite server where the images and sound can be saved, not deleted at the cop's convenience. The footage should be available to citizens and police alike.

Intentional vs. accidental obscuring the image would have to be on a case by case basis, but hopefully the sounds recording would still provide enough cues and clues...

Re:Forget when they get back (1)

PRMan (959735) | about 8 months ago | (#46485937)

I worked with police for a while. Trust me, you do NOT want to see most of the crap that they have to deal with. Available to a public watchdog panel? Fine. Available to the public at large? I really don't think you want to see severed heads or murdered, raped teenagers' dead nude bodies.

The ACLU really is obstructionist, aren't they? (3, Interesting)

dave562 (969951) | about 8 months ago | (#46485497)

I used to think that the ACLU was a force for good, and they might be. But they do not know when to quit, or compromise on anything. Here we are finally getting accountability for law enforcement, and now they want to stop the program?

I wonder if anyone told them that nothing is perfect and life is all about compromises.

Re:The ACLU really is obstructionist, aren't they? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46485769)

The problem is, the ACLU wants their vision of a utopia. They don't care about compromises or middle ground. If it isn't their view (which is mostly good, anyways) then it's not desirable.

Re:The ACLU really is obstructionist, aren't they? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46485833)

Let's put this in a different light to show you why the ACLU took this position. You are a programmer writing the ruleset to be used to prioritize some set of functions in your project. Once you are finished, you send your ruleset (a bill to be voted on) to committee for peer review and feed back. Maybe call it the "beta" version of your ruleset.

The ACLU(quality control staff) is basically telling the lawmakers(you, the grunt programmer) that while this bill(ruleset) they want to pass has the general idea, there are a number of glaring holes that will be exploited to cause predictable and unpredictable outcomes. Instead of just passing your swiss cheese ruleset along to later be patched up, the ACLU is saying to send it back to be done correctly.

So really, they are trying to help implement a good idea in a positive fashion, as opposed to letting people take a good idea and muck it up with potential failure.

Re:The ACLU really is obstructionist, aren't they? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46485947)

Maybe they have already compromised? or maybe they keep fighting the fight so that in the end when they compromise they don't get screwed too much.

have you ever bartered for anything? you always ask for more than you take. the ACLU has posted a memo, which means absolutely nothing other than to inform the public of their opinion.

personally i would rather not see the ACLU stop fighting for the rights of citizens, too many people already fight for the rights of the corporations and personal greed. its nice to have someone trying to fight for the good of society

Mostly for it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46485501)

Equal access is certainly an issue. But hey, complaints are down 90%. I just watched cell phone video of police brutality on last night's news. The cops are getting videoed anyway, they might as well have something on them to remind them.

Released footage.. (1)

sqorbit (3387991) | about 8 months ago | (#46485521)

So how often will it happen that higher profile arrests of public figures has the tape released to the media or in the right circumstance (or cost) for the right person (government official) the video isn't available?

good for the goose? (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 8 months ago | (#46485531)

I wonder how cops will react to citizens having cameras on their persons during altercations with cops? In theory it should be exactly the same thing, but in practice, citizens trying to (legally) film cops during such interactions have not gone well for the citizen.

Re:good for the goose? (1)

PRMan (959735) | about 8 months ago | (#46485959)

If the cops are already filming, then they shouldn't care nearly as much.

The ACLU (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 8 months ago | (#46485539)

Is the only things the ACLU [aclupa.org] can say is "Yes" or "No"? Instead of saying "I respectfully urge you to please vote “no” on this legislation" perhaps say something like "I respectfully ask you to amend the legislation as follows". It is easy to point at legislation and say "bad bill" but it is much more difficult, and productive, to say how the bill can be fixed. They make some oblique suggestions but they are not set out so that the can be easily added to the bill. For example, one of their issues is retention length but they never states how long they consider optimal. If the bill was amended to have a retention time there is a good chance that the ACLU would object because it is too long or too short. Become part of the process instead of an obstructionist.

"and is typically retained for one to three months (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 8 months ago | (#46485545)

Unless of course it shows something that could get the department sued, in which case there will be a "computer error" and the video will be lost.

Re:"and is typically retained for one to three mon (1)

voss (52565) | about 8 months ago | (#46485915)

In most cases tampering with the video would be a felony. Any decision to delete video would have to be logged by a supervisor.

Unconstitutional in WA state without a warrant (1, Interesting)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 8 months ago | (#46485607)

Sorry, but our state constitution in Washington State is pretty darned clear on that.

You can't record people without a warrant. Or their express permission.

That includes you Google Glassholes.

Re:Unconstitutional in WA state without a warrant (1)

Enfixed (2423494) | about 8 months ago | (#46485855)

Mark my words, your state constitution will be changed or overruled shortly. ;)
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