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NYPD Starts Body Camera Pilot Program

Soulskill posted about 2 months ago | from the every-step-you-take-every-move-you-make dept.

Government 170

An anonymous reader writes: In the wake of the Michael Brown shooting, calls for continuous recording of all police activity have become loud and strenuous. Now, one of the biggest police forces in the world will begin testing body cameras. The New York Police Department announced a pilot program to test the wearable cameras in high-crime districts. "[T]he participation of the New York department, with its 35,000 uniformed members and vast footprint on the country's policing policy, could permanently shift the balance in favor of the cameras, which both civil libertarians and many police chiefs have cited as a way to improve relations between citizens and law enforcement, particularly in heavily policed minority communities." The NYPD will be testing hardware from two manufacturers: Vievu and Taser International. While the 60-camera pilot program will get running for about $60,000, IT costs are expected to quickly outstrip that amount.

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Deblasio has been working hard (5, Interesting)

gurps_npc (621217) | about 2 months ago | (#47834231)

To make sure that NYC is not Ferguson.

He has a couple of "meet the police" fairs, which I never saw before.

He has done everything right that Ferguson did wrong.

Now, the NYC police is not perfect, but at least they are actively attempting to do a better job, rather than attempting to prove how 'tough' they are.

The police have a hard job and the violent nature of their business tends to make certain foolish people think their job is to be as powerful as possible.

Glad to see that NYC is moving in the right direction.

Re:Deblasio has been working hard (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 2 months ago | (#47834275)

It's certainly subjectively good. But I think it's also an important case for monitoring data wise to see the objective value of these things. My hope is that it's a net positive for every important metric, because an even slightly mixed bag of results could be enough to talk a lot of departments out of the idea.

Re:Deblasio has been working hard (-1)

Wootery (1087023) | about 2 months ago | (#47835011)

It's certainly subjectively good.

I disagree ;-P

Re:Deblasio has been working hard (2)

silfen (3720385) | about 2 months ago | (#47834477)

To make sure that NYC is not Ferguson.

In what sense? The NYPD kills people all the time (they seem to be found guilty of misconduct more frequently than other police departments):

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/... [huffingtonpost.com]

However, as elsewhere, the police killings appear to be representative of the population of suspects and perpetrators:

http://www.motherjones.com/pol... [motherjones.com]

Re:Deblasio has been working hard (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47834673)

NYPD cops get found guilty.

Ferguson cops just leave town.

Re:Deblasio has been working hard (4)

blackraven14250 (902843) | about 2 months ago | (#47834791)

Of course it happens more frequently in NYC than elsewhere. It's a city with 8.4 million people, and 35,000 cops. The number of cops alone is larger than most towns. As an example, Ferguson, MO is only 21,000 people - there's 14,000 more cops alone in NYC, plus another 8.4 million people. Ferguson's entire population is literally a fucking rounding error relative to NYC's population.

Re:Deblasio has been working hard (4, Interesting)

Firethorn (177587) | about 2 months ago | (#47834973)

I was going to chime in with pretty much the same deal - the NYPD has about 4k more people than Juneau, the capital of Alaska.

On the topic of the IT costs - 60 cameras and associated gear for $60k sounds about right for hardware cost alone. IT costs, if you're counting labor it's going to cost more than that to obtain a person with a background in security video and preferably justice in the first quarter alone. Then you start looking at storing all the video...

Given the task, I'd probably go with the netflix solution - lots of hard drives. Speed isn't really required since the video will only be pulled up if there's a question, and any video pulled up is more likely to be viewed again, so if the main array starts getting too slow, put a caching SSD in as necessary. There's going to be just too much video to justify SSD storage. Heck, off-line tapes would be an eventual step if the program expands.

On the topic of the CAMERAS. From various places such as Canada deploying them, I've heard that rates of both assault of police officers AND allegations of police misconduct, verified and unverified both dropped with the introduction of the cameras. To me at least, it seems that people tend to 'be on their best behavior' when they know they're being recorded. It's just that to keep the 'bad' cops* from turning them off or such you need to regularly review the records and punish improper shut downs and/or abuse of the equipment. Get it to the point that 'turned off the camera' counts less as lack of evidence and more evidence that you concealed/destroyed evidence.

*Many of whom I think belong in prison.

Re:Deblasio has been working hard (1)

guruevi (827432) | about 2 months ago | (#47835987)

That's a $1000/camera before IT costs, that seems a tad excessive although it's well within range of any government program. You can get fully functional camcorders for $100.

Re:Deblasio has been working hard (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47835147)

The day finally arrived when numbers alone don't just indicate that it MIGHT happen more often, but that _it's okay when it does_.

Thanks for being That Guy.

Re:Deblasio has been working hard (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | about 2 months ago | (#47835513)

Not at all. It's absolutely not OK. But even if we do everything we can to lower those numbers, unless it's at effectively zero, there will always be more incidents in NYC than (insert random town whose population is an order of magnitude or more lower than a rounding error compared to NYC's).

Re:Deblasio has been working hard (4, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 2 months ago | (#47835249)

And for the Ferguson thing....let's take a wait and see attitude to see what the evidence presents as what really happened.

So far, the kid seems to possibly not be quite as innocent as originally depicted by the news and Al Sharpton types....

So, at this point, best to wait and see what the evidence and witnesses show as what happened that day.

$10,000 per camera (2, Insightful)

bussdriver (620565) | about 2 months ago | (#47834675)

If you, the reader, has any experience with office politics or politics you know the popular underhanded technique of supporting something while undermining it.

Overhead, corruption, and incompetence are too often used as an excuse; many times it IS simply an underhanded attack by the "supporters." When NYPD spends $60,000 while saying it's going to cost more for only 60 cameras there are people involved who WANT it to be as expensive as possible of a deterrent. A high profile test group like NYPD will get cited all over the nation. Given how badly it is needed and demanded by the public, the costs are going to have to be high to deter widespread common use. Despite how actually cheap it would be - I bet their flash lights cost more... I had a cheap pen camera from china that was in that price range; it didn't last long or store much video but that was 6 years ago.

This is also where greedy capitalism comes in because that is all about how much the market is willing to pay--- and they've got to make sure this is a niche market so it doesn't have to compete with the extremely cheap mainstream market.

Sure, the way public budgets are managed is they take all projected costs (on the high side) then divide them out in ways that makes things like this seem like it's $10,000 a camera -- and one can sometimes spot the traitors because they'll focus on such false estimates.

Now it could be this is a totally honest move by NYPD and their high costs are because they are preparing for a full scale deployment with this just being a testing group. I'm just too cynical to take things at face value... wonder if any reporters exist who can hang around enough to pick up on such things anymore.

Re:$10,000 per camera (3, Informative)

dj245 (732906) | about 2 months ago | (#47834757)

If you, the reader, has any experience with office politics or politics you know the popular underhanded technique of supporting something while undermining it.

Overhead, corruption, and incompetence are too often used as an excuse; many times it IS simply an underhanded attack by the "supporters." When NYPD spends $60,000 while saying it's going to cost more for only 60 cameras there are people involved who WANT it to be as expensive as possible of a deterrent. A high profile test group like NYPD will get cited all over the nation. Given how badly it is needed and demanded by the public, the costs are going to have to be high to deter widespread common use. Despite how actually cheap it would be - I bet their flash lights cost more... I had a cheap pen camera from china that was in that price range; it didn't last long or store much video but that was 6 years ago.

This is also where greedy capitalism comes in because that is all about how much the market is willing to pay--- and they've got to make sure this is a niche market so it doesn't have to compete with the extremely cheap mainstream market.

Sure, the way public budgets are managed is they take all projected costs (on the high side) then divide them out in ways that makes things like this seem like it's $10,000 a camera -- and one can sometimes spot the traitors because they'll focus on such false estimates.

Now it could be this is a totally honest move by NYPD and their high costs are because they are preparing for a full scale deployment with this just being a testing group. I'm just too cynical to take things at face value... wonder if any reporters exist who can hang around enough to pick up on such things anymore.

Hint- Industrial type equipment designed for daily rough use is expensive. I have a Motorola Pro5150 radio on my desk here which apparently costs about $400 [secosy.com] (finding an actual price on this thing isn't easy) depending on which model it is. For a radio. But it is built like a tank, designed very well, and looks a lot like what police departments use. A wearable camera built like this radio costing $1000 each might be expensive, but it wouldn't be absurdly expensive.

Re:$10,000 per camera (1, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 2 months ago | (#47835311)

Hmm...as a citizen, I wonder if I wear a number of HIGH powered IR LED's on my hat/person, if that would blind out these officer cameras?

I've been dying to find out if surrounding my license plate on my car, would fsck up the video from the speeding/stoplight cameras too....easily viewable to naked human eye, but blind out the cameras.

Hmm...sound like a fun weekend project.

Re:$10,000 per camera (2)

sabri (584428) | about 2 months ago | (#47835489)

I wonder if I wear a number of HIGH powered IR LED's on my hat/person, if that would blind out these officer cameras?

You mean like this [boingboing.net] ?

This German exibition is showcasing bright infrared LED devices that overwhelm the CCDs in security cameras, allowing you to move through modern society in relative privacy. I used this as a gimmick in my story I, Robot -- now I want to own one!

Re:$10,000 per camera (1)

boristdog (133725) | about 2 months ago | (#47835525)

Let me know your results for toll road cameras. For...uh...science, yeah.

$10,000 per camera (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47834953)

$60,000 for 60 cameras = $1000 per camera.

You fail basic math forever!

Re:$10,000 per camera (4, Informative)

Firethorn (177587) | about 2 months ago | (#47835075)

When NYPD spends $60,000 while saying it's going to cost more for only 60 cameras there are people involved who WANT it to be as expensive as possible of a deterrent.

As somebody who once worked in government purchasing, $60k for 60 cameras didn't even make me blink at the expense, to the point that I was figuring it's equipment expenses alone, not including labor and such.

Let's start with the camera: $399 [taser.com]
One mounted on a pair of glasses: $599
Miscellaneous:
Dock hardware (price not listed), a few different mounting options(price not listed), etc...

IT costs, well I figure the NYPD will want to set up it's own solution but the same company offers cloud storage specifically for the video with the necessary bells and whistles for chain of evidence/custody at evidence.com: [taser.com] Starts at $15/month, though I wouldn't see the NYPD going for less than the 'Pro' Package at $39/month per officer(because that includes redaction and agency reports), and it could go as high as $55.

That's $468/year for storage, putting us right at $1k for the glasses and storage** for 1 year, and we don't even have anybody administering the program yet!

Re:$10,000 per camera (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47835455)

Oh come on now. How much could it possibly cost for a plastic shell that resembles a camera, a 9 volt battery to make the single component (a red blinky LED) flash, and the police chiefs kid to sit around playing league of legends on the computer purchased for this? (Plenty of CPU power and bandwidth "left over" when no video footage is coming in after all)

On top of that they get to save all the money previously spent on destroying tapes, plus a stream of zero bits is much lighter weight to carry and have shredded.

Re:$10,000 per camera (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | about 2 months ago | (#47835775)

http://www.vievu.com/vievu-sto... [vievu.com]
The $1,000 price is totally reasonable. Start with a ruggedized HD camera: a few hundred dollars to start. Now add a battery that can last all day in any weather - that's pricey. Now add that it can record video all day - that's quite a bit of flash in a small space. Put a wearable mount on it. Now add a lot of security features. Lastly, get it certified. I think they did okay.

Re:Deblasio has been working hard (2)

Totenglocke (1291680) | about 2 months ago | (#47834949)

Don't confuse a PR campaign for how they actually feel about their fellow citizens.

Re:Deblasio has been working hard (1)

CODiNE (27417) | about 2 months ago | (#47835577)

Some smaller police departments give out trading cards of the officers to kids.

I remember it was pretty hard to get them as each officer only gave out his/her own cards at parks and schools. Still I managed to acquire one of only two known complete sets from my hometown when I was a kid.

Forcing positive social interaction can help lessen the "us vs them" mentality. Plus officers get a sense of pride if people know them by name and care more about their reputation.

HA! (4, Insightful)

TheCarp (96830) | about 2 months ago | (#47834237)

I am normally against increasing the number of cameras around and being under surveillance all the time. That said, I think NYC needs this to finnally start putting nails in the coffin of their stop and frisk program. Finally either one of two things HAS to happen: Either they collect massive amounts of evidence about how they have been stopping random people and trumping up charges, or.... the number of incidents must go down. Either way, its progress.

Re:HA! (2)

mysidia (191772) | about 2 months ago | (#47834811)

Either they collect massive amounts of evidence about how they have been stopping random people and trumping up charges, or.... the number of incidents must go down.

I'm sure they'll have like a 15 day retention period, after which they'll destroy the footage so it can't be used against them.

In practice the body cam footage will only be used to support their perspective, but only if there is a major public outcry about some incident; which will always be timely.

Include infrared (1)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 2 months ago | (#47834245)

So they can't be blocked with a simple piece of tape. Because that that's gonna happen is just a no-brainer.

Re:Include infrared (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47834305)

And when it gets to court, any halfway decent lawyer will get the case thrown out. Then it will come from the highest ranks of the DA to stop covering your f'cking camera and letting criminals go free. Or there were never that many criminals to begin with in the first place.

Don't be so quick to judge judgement.

-dk

Re:Include infrared (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47834325)

That would, unfortunately, raise all kinds of extra privacy issues, and probably still not penetrate whatever tape or other obstruction somebody chose to use. But then, when whomever is tasked with reviewing the footage sees that the camera is blocked, that will likely be met with about as much draconian smackdown as fiddling with an airplane smoke detector.

Re:Include infrared (1)

tibit (1762298) | about 2 months ago | (#47834797)

Ahh, you think that most obscure tapes (think electrical tape) are IR-transparent? You're nuts.

Re:Include infrared (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 2 months ago | (#47834831)

So they can't be blocked with a simple piece of tape. Because that that's gonna happen is just a no-brainer.

I have a better idea: after their shift is over, analyze the footage after every day. For any time during the shift that their camera was active and working: their rate of pay will be higher.

If their camera was malfunctioning or inactive for more than 60 minutes during the day, then their pay for the entire shift is reduced, and they get a warning.

Re:Include infrared (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47834963)

So they need 35,000 more employees to review the footage of 35,000 cameras?

Re:Include infrared (1)

praxis (19962) | about 2 months ago | (#47835507)

So they need 35,000 more employees to review the footage of 35,000 cameras?

Or a small number of IT-types, some hardware and some software.

Re:Include infrared (1)

Cardoor (3488091) | about 2 months ago | (#47835039)

how's the weather in the all-logical-universe in which you live? good luck with that. last time i heard of a caesar threatening to cut the praetorian's pay...

And make video available when asked (4, Insightful)

parallel_prankster (1455313) | about 2 months ago | (#47834285)

There have been numerous instances where the cops have reported "malfunctioning" devices to avoid providing videos of situations which may have provided incriminating evidence. Just yesterday there was news about how a guy fell from a cop car into the water below while handcuffed and the police couldn't provide any video evidence! Maybe there should be strict penalties for losing video recordings as well.

Re:And make video available when asked (2)

Wootery (1087023) | about 2 months ago | (#47834361)

Maybe there should be strict penalties for losing video recordings as well.

One can also view it as a problem with how the system works. The car cam, and proper treatment of its tapes, shouldn't be the responsibility of the officers in the car.

If there were a designated 'cam tape librarian' for the department, and that person alone were allowed to manage the tapes, this stuff would presumably be much less of a problem. (Naturally, if tapes go missing, that should be enough to put the tape librarian's job on the line, and the don't screw with the tapes unless it's your job to rule would have to have teeth.)

Re:And make video available when asked (2)

peragrin (659227) | about 2 months ago | (#47834449)

There shouldn't be tapes. The feed from those cams should be directly sent IA. It can them be used as needed to clear officers.

Local storage is an issue.

Re:And make video available when asked (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 2 months ago | (#47834737)

There are 34000 uniformed officers in New York City, and they have 8800 cars. Lets assume that there are 5000 officers working at any one time (that's probably understimating it). Let's say it's 1 mbit/s to get decent video recording. That means the generate 51 TB of data every day. That's 18 petabytes a year. That becomes a storage problem really fast.

Re:And make video available when asked (1)

Wootery (1087023) | about 2 months ago | (#47834847)

Except you don't need to store the videos indefinitely. I imagine a couple of months is long enough. It's a pretty huge amount of data, but I'm sure it's not that hard to cope with a couple of petabytes of simple video files. That's on the order of a thousand hard-disks full (not counting redundancy), and there's no fancy database requirements here, just a huge pile of videos indexed by car ID and day.

Anyway, I don't think peragrin was saying anything to the contrary, but was instead just suggesting IA could act as the 'tape library'.

Re:And make video available when asked (3, Insightful)

queazocotal (915608) | about 2 months ago | (#47835057)

18 petabytes a year isn't much.
Taking the assumption above that there are 5000 cameras working at once.
They are paid around $35/hour. This would make the wage bill 1.5 billion. Budget is $5B - so this seems order of magnitude right.
18 petabytes, on amazon redshifts '$1000/tbyear' is only $18M.
It seems quite plausible to get that to $5m without trying really hard.

Perhaps more important than storage, is access.
It should be possible to say 'show me a list of officers and car cameras within 1000 yards of 1 WTC between 8Am and 9am last friday'.

And yes - this implies the cameras must have GPS too.

Re:And make video available when asked (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47834873)

Simple solution, just upload it all to youtube.

Re:And make video available when asked (0)

Wootery (1087023) | about 2 months ago | (#47834981)

I presume you are a troll. Convince me otherwise, and I will explain to you why this is a stupid suggestion.

Re:And make video available when asked (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about 2 months ago | (#47834881)

i think 30 days prior to purging is fair (obviously unless the tape is being used.) Also a lot of tape can get trimmed as there is no need to keep the tape when the officers are not making contact. Still a nightmare, but better than what we have now which is nothing more than he said she said

Re:And make video available when asked (2)

Firethorn (177587) | about 2 months ago | (#47835115)

That still requires somebody to review all the daily tapes and purge non-interaction times, and you don't want the officers doing it themselves. Even if you have a guy doing it mostly on fast forward, that's 1 reviewer for every 10 cops or so.

It'd probably be cheaper to just store everything, and no, I don't think 30 days is anywhere near enough given how long it can take to generate a court case and have the records subpoenaed. I'd consider 90 days the bare minimum.

Re:And make video available when asked (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about 2 months ago | (#47835497)

i just chose 30 as a number but yeah I agree that 30 may be too short for that very reason.

on the other hand im sure software can be written where as for example no one is talking to anyone - delete this section, no one is moving - delete this section, there is no audio being captured - delete thiss ection

In no way perfect and simplified for argument sake, but im sure software could be written to handle it

Re:And make video available when asked (1)

azadrozny (576352) | about 2 months ago | (#47835669)

Some automated tools could be applied. For example, the audio could be scanned for gun shots, or other loud noises (signs of a struggle), which triggers an automatic hold on that video. The real trick is going to be dealing with the FOIA requests. I could see where the police would want to review and possibly redact sensitive video, such as a conversation with a confidential informant. That means if I make a request for all the video from an officer for the last 90 days, or all officers on duty during a 6 hour time, someone needs to review it all.

Re:And make video available when asked (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47834957)

It might not be that bad actually. You could probably setup computers in all the cop cars with 802.11 wireless links to sync the majority of the video with body-cams. A 2TB hard drive could easily store six months worth of high quality video. That cop car computer could then be automatically syncing with a main station and/or other cop cars in the area. A decentralized system makes it very difficult to argue 'technical glitch'. Cops work together and will play dirty together, but its unlikely they'll risk a career over it if they feel its likely to come back and bite them. When they know that they can't just destroy there own car to destroy the evidence they'll probably think twice about it. One cop car goes missing you can write it off, but two and its a conspiracy. You could top it all off by using cellular links with dynamically encoded (lower quality) and streamed video when cops 'move out of range' and on-board drives could retain the HD versions (again, SD cards can even store up to 16 hours of HD video).

Re:And make video available when asked (2)

jabuzz (182671) | about 2 months ago | (#47834975)

If you think that 18Pb of data is a massive storage problem then I have news for you it is not, and can be done in a handful of racks these days. Of course you would probably archive anything over six months old to tape so you could easily store a few decades worth.

Really 18Pb is small beer these days.

Re:And make video available when asked (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 2 months ago | (#47835067)

It may be peanuts to a company like Google that is used to dealing with large amounts of data. But to an organization like NYPD which isn't used to handling such large amounts of data, and it becomes a problem. Do they try to manage it internally? Do they contract it out to someone else? We saw how well that worked for Obamacare.

Re:And make video available when asked (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47835013)

Storing these videos for an average of 90 days would require a 5PB datacenter, which would cost about $20-30million per year if you built it near NYC. The NYPD budget is $4.6billion per year.

This is completely feasible.

Re:And make video available when asked (1)

Totenglocke (1291680) | about 2 months ago | (#47835025)

Screw IA, they're police themselves. Put it in the hands of a non-paid but elected group of citizens to store and review. That way you eliminate the potential for the police to alter / destroy evidence.

Re:And make video available when asked (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47834595)

Remember that you're talking about "a lot of data" that must be cataloged so as to be easily retrievable. That's not cheap, inherently easy, or going to be done perfectly.

I still maintain that a court order must be the only way to produce the footage; there are a lot of people who are pretty close to victims who will be recorded, most with no charges when the police are doing beat work, who's privacy must be protected.

Re:And make video available when asked (2)

queazocotal (915608) | about 2 months ago | (#47835101)

Every second of video GPS timestamped, and the GPS logs extracted and used to index the video.

Privacy is a hard topic.
To a degree - I find the fact a police officer, who could have arrested someone was on the scene - makes the case rather different from that of a random surveillance camera.

My starting point would be that all video from cameras while the cop is in a public place have a much, much, much lower threshold for access.

Re:And make video available when asked (1)

Dan667 (564390) | about 2 months ago | (#47835703)

constantly stream to the web and 6 months no pay, no exceptions if it the body camera is not working. Problem fixed.

Equipment from 'Taser International'!?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47834301)

Don't tase me, bro!

Next up... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47834311)

The camera man that operates the body cam is going to get beaten into a bloody pulp. //convinced there's a camera man in my trunk for my backing camera ///convinced that camera men died to get NASA's close-up photos of Jupiter and Saturn.

Wasted film resource (1)

noshellswill (598066) | about 2 months ago | (#47834393)

In "heavily policed" Bantu ratwholes every perp has an Obama.phone, so no extra filming is needed.  Trade 2.0 OZ gin for the downloads.  Even that effort is  a throw-away. Since in those  pestilent neighborhoods 5/10 strollers are flashmob perps might as well-arrest everyone NOW ... and send them off to the Utah  stone-breakers gulag. Nothing lost.

its the cops, not the cameras. (5, Insightful)

nimbius (983462) | about 2 months ago | (#47834411)

When Eric Garner was choked to death by NYPD cops, cameraphones were rolling to capture the event. when they shot dead a man on 37th street for brandishing a knife, video was taken through bystanders. two years ago when a cop shot a homeless mans dog in East Village there was plenty of footage from bystanders. 11 months ago when the NYPD fired haphazardly into a crowd of people to control a single disorderly man, there was quite a bit of footage. when the NYPD dragged a nude grandmother from her apartment last month, plenty of cameraphones picked up the action.

Strapping a camera to a police officer at this point is moot. its designed to deflect attention from the routine use of disproportionate force against the citizens theyre charged with protecting. the actual issue the NYPD needs to deal with is either burned out or unfit for duty officers. Rookies fresh from Afghanistan and 10 year veterans with a calloused trigger finger need training, counseling, and support to help correct a systemic 'us vesus them' mentality. PTSD evaluations and regular, significant performance reviews should be a part of every officers career and something the police union should champion first. Strapping a go-pro to your departments beat-cops will result in either a glut of abuse evidence or no footage at all. Do not promote unfit officers to higher ranks either; the glut of stonewalled or ignored FOIA requests is evidence this is a bad practice.

Re:its the cops, not the cameras. (5, Insightful)

disposable60 (735022) | about 2 months ago | (#47834529)

Those cameraphones capture late-stage action and aftermath. The bodycams should capture the leadup and escalation that are really needed for an impartial/fair evaluation of the event. The events you cite do sound damning, but more footage would be helpful in evaluating the encounter. Knowing that footage exists helps, too - if only to slow the officer's reach for applied violence.

Y'know, if I've got that cellphone app that streams direct to the cloud for protection from abuse of power, can't the bodycams do the same thing? Local-only data is too vulnerable to loss or abuse.

Re:its the cops, not the cameras. (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 2 months ago | (#47834909)

I would hate to imagine the data bill that would be incurred from uploading all that data, It would probably be a couple gigabytes, per shift. NYC has a lot of police officers. Also, there's a lot of cases where there would be no cellular connection, like in subway trains, or under bridges. Certain buildings do a pretty good job of cutting off cell reception in the elevators. All the tall buildings in New York create quite a few dead zones, or at least places with less than optimal signal levels which would make uploading video in real time a big problem. Also, what happens when there's a riot, and you get 100 officers all standing in one spot trying to upload video in real time to the same cell tower. Can the towers handle that kind of traffic?

Re:its the cops, not the cameras. (1)

Drethon (1445051) | about 2 months ago | (#47835171)

Also did the cops in those incidents even notice the cameras on them?

Re:its the cops, not the cameras. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47835449)

I'm guessing that the simple fact that those people didn't get their cameras confiscated leads to a big "no" on that one.

Re:its the cops, not the cameras. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47835663)

The bodycams should capture the leadup and escalation that are really needed for an impartial/fair evaluation of the event.

Um, I don't follow. All the examples you listed were so far removed from how cops should act that there can't really be an evaluation of the event other than, 'Fired, criminal charges filed.' The role of cops is not to be a group of thugs and murders. It's not to physically assault people. If someone isn't complying with their commands, then they need to be patient, not get physical with them, and not turn into angry murderers. Sure, there will always be the handful of events where people are actively being a danger to the public and the police will need to use force. But in all the cases you listed, and in fact, most of the ones that make the news, the escalation of force was simply not warranted.

You don't need to evaluate all the events that didn't happen because cops weren't being murderous thugs. How about we cut down on those events, rather than slapping cameras everywhere? It's a piss-poor us-vs-them, powerful cops vs dehumanized civilians attitude that's the problem. If you want to be a cop, you don't get to be an untouchable terminator - you have to be humble and realize that you might die protecting the public. That's not the current attitude among most officers.

Drop the APCs and tanks, drop the assault weapons and body armor, drop the elitist us-vs-the-goons attitude, walk around and actually treat civilians like people, and harshly punish cops for breaking the law, and the problem largely goes away.

Re:its the cops, not the cameras. (2)

gurps_npc (621217) | about 2 months ago | (#47834647)

You fail to understand the difference between spot detection and permanent detection.

If you sample one out of every 100 cars, all you are really doing is determining if a problem exists, not actually fixing the problem. Not even if you fix the randomly selected problem cars. You still need a separate program to analyze the manufacturing problems causing the defects then fix the problem, if it exists.

But having someone check ALL the cards, allows you to remove the bad ones and fix them before you sell them. You don't actually need a separate program, because your analysis IS the fix.

Similarly, a constant video recording program is the solution to the problem we detected by using random video recordings. Random recordings allow problems to flourish between the recordings. Constant recordings do not have this issue.

The fact that random recording don't fix the problem is no surprise, and constant recordings are qualitatively different so your argument is flawed.

Re:its the cops, not the cameras. (0)

TheBilgeRat (1629569) | about 2 months ago | (#47834669)

...Strapping a camera to a police officer at this point is moot. its designed to deflect attention from the routine use of disproportionate force against the citizens theyre charged with protecting. the actual issue the NYPD needs to deal with is either burned out or unfit for duty officers. Rookies fresh from Afghanistan and 10 year veterans with a calloused trigger finger need training, counseling, and support to help correct a systemic 'us vesus them' mentality. PTSD evaluations and regular, significant performance reviews should be a part of every officers career and something the police union should champion first. Strapping a go-pro to your departments beat-cops will result in either a glut of abuse evidence or no footage at all. Do not promote unfit officers to higher ranks either; the glut of stonewalled or ignored FOIA requests is evidence this is a bad practice.

I wish I had mod points today, so I'll just settle for a reqoute and a THIS. THIS for days.

Re:its the cops, not the cameras. (3, Insightful)

Totenglocke (1291680) | about 2 months ago | (#47835065)

I'm sure plenty of people here will be outraged by this, but the fastest way to fix issues with police brutality / police corruption is to ban police unions. The union always fights tooth and nail to keep bad officers from being fired and in the rare instance where a bad cop does lose their job, the union frequently tries to get them reinstated (like Officer Harless from Canton, OH who was fired after public outrage over video of him threatening to murder a man pulled over for a traffic stop).

its the cops, not the cameras. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47835433)

Training? Counseling? Support? Those are needed BEFORE an instance of police misconduct but after one firing, criminal charges & jail time are what is needed. No one would suggest that a convenience store robber should be punished with financial assistance, or a wife beater simply get counseling. Offices who respect members of the public and do their jobs well should be praised, those who abuse their positions and beat suspects should have the law book chucked at them at supersonic speeds out of an air cannon.

Re:its the cops, not the cameras. (1)

Salgat (1098063) | about 2 months ago | (#47835839)

...why not both?

Who gets access to the video? (4, Insightful)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | about 2 months ago | (#47834479)

Is it the police only? Defense lawyers with a subpoena? The public? There's this:

Officers would be permitted to view video they recorded before making statements in cases where their conduct was questioned

I would vastly prefer they make statements without access to the video. Seeing the video allows them to craft a story that fits what was recorded, and leave out or invent things that weren't picked up. If they don't know exactly what the cameras saw, they have to stick much closer to the truth.

Re:Who gets access to the video? (2, Insightful)

jd.schmidt (919212) | about 2 months ago | (#47834991)

Why, have you never remembered an event wrong? The behavior of everyone will be plain to see on the video, by contrast every lawyer knows the trick of picking out one detail someone got wrong and spinning that into proof that everything they say is a lie.

Re:Who gets access to the video? (4, Insightful)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | about 2 months ago | (#47835251)

Why, have you never remembered an event wrong?

Sure I have. So what? If police misremember the event, is that somehow not relevant?

The behavior of everyone will be plain to see on the video

That was actually caught on video, that is. As I explicitly pointed out. I spoke - direct quote here - about the ability "to craft a story that fits what was recorded, and leave out or invent things that weren't picked up". What happened before, or just offscreen? Police are known to claim that someone was "reaching for a gun" - even when it didn't happen [informatio...ration.com] . But if the camera angle is bad, they will know they can claim that regardless of what they actually remember.

every lawyer knows the trick of picking out one detail someone got wrong and spinning that into proof that everything they say is a lie

But... but... if "The behavior of everyone will be plain to see on the video", how could a lawyer get away with that?

Frankly, I consider that a feature, not a bug, anyway. Eyewitness testimony really is ureliable. 'Bout time juries learned that applies to police too.

Re:Who gets access to the video? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47835741)

By that line of thought suspects should be able to see all evidence against them before a police interview so they can make sure they don't "misremember" anything. But the reality is police routinely lie to suspects, telling them they have evidence implicating them and/or eyewitnesses who can ID them even if they have nothing. Why officers who may be suspected of misconduct should expect any less is beyond me. There are droves of cases where police reports paint one picture and then after people get home and start uploading their camcorder/cellphone videos onto Youtube offices scramble to "amend" their reports to be "more accurate". Examples include the BART shooting of Oscar Grant, initial police statements claimed that Grant was fighting with officers whereas video from multiple angles proved beyond all doubt he was laying still, handcuffed, with an officer holding him down at the time of the shooting. The beating of Michael Deherra, initial police reports claimed that Deherra attacked an officer, the CCTV system proved that he was stationary on the sidewalk a distance from an arrest talking on his phone and his free hand was across his chest griping his other arm.

Re:Who gets access to the video? (3, Insightful)

MobyDisk (75490) | about 2 months ago | (#47835843)

If the person sees video of the event, THEN gives their testimony, it largely defeated the purpose of the testimony. You want to know what they remember, tainted by their emotions and perceptions at the time. If the testimony is merely a narration of of the video it told you nothing new. And if one of the people is lying, you won't catch them if you give them a chance to see what the camera caught.

Perhaps they need to give testimony, then watch the video, then have the opportunity to revise it. But both should be admissible as evidence.

Re:Who gets access to the video? (1)

houghi (78078) | about 2 months ago | (#47835125)

If they don't know exactly what the cameras saw, they have to stick much closer to the truth.

You can't handle the truth! Son, we live in a world that has walls. And those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinberg? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that Santiago's death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives...You don't want the truth. Because deep down, in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall. You need me on that wall.
We use words like honor, code, loyalty...we use these words as the backbone to a life spent defending something. You use 'em as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it! I'd rather you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you're entitled to!

Pilot program alright (3, Interesting)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 2 months ago | (#47834505)

"The participation of the New York department, with its 35,000 uniformed members... While the 60-camera pilot program will get running for about $60,000, IT costs are expected to quickly outstrip that amount.

So, 0.171428571429% of the NYPD will have a body camera. And as nimbius said above, it's not a problem of monitoring, it's a problem of psychology and mindset. It seems police officers think of themselves as soldiers fighting enemy forces instead of officers serving and protecting the public.

Re:Pilot program alright (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about 2 months ago | (#47835155)

Actually, reports from Canada is that cameras DO reduce the number of offenses, reducing assaults both on and by officers.

With the cameras you have a better chance of catching said burned out people before they're pulling the trigger of their firearm...

*They'll need a few spares to replace those lost, stolen, or destroyed beyond warranty repair/replacement.

dear NYPD thug, (-1)

Cardoor (3488091) | about 2 months ago | (#47834531)

step 1: purchase black tape.

step 2: place small piece of said tape over camera, while verbally saying loud enough to be recorded "hey, is that an EMP?!?!? oh my god! it's coming right at me!!!!!"

step 3: proceed with your typical wednesday beatdowns.

Re:dear NYPD thug, (1, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | about 2 months ago | (#47834703)

step 4: When challenged by the victim as to police misconduct, assume the office is guilty in court and proceed with prejudice since you have a video of the officer disabling his camera.

Do you really think your idea is THAT clever? Do you REALLY think its not going to be obvious when there is video showing the officer putting tape over the camera?

Are you really that stupid? That question is directed at all the people that think 'putting black tape over the lens' is a way out. For fucks sake, how dumb do you think people are?

Hint: You aren't nearly as bright as you think and probably less so than the rest of the public who would watch the video of the cop putting tape over his camera and lying about why it was happening and convict him on the spot to prove the point.

Re: dear NYPD thug, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47834895)

Pretty sure the poster you replied to was joking...

Re:dear NYPD thug, (1)

Cardoor (3488091) | about 2 months ago | (#47834917)

what's the difference between a joke and 3 dicks? (hint: in answer, substitue 'BitZream' and whoever down-voted me for 'your mom')

Re:dear NYPD thug, (1)

Cardoor (3488091) | about 2 months ago | (#47834999)

in seriousness though, away from insulting your lack of joke-taking ability, you are also ignorant as to how cops and the real world works. i can think of many ways that cops could still effectively get around the camera and it's ultimately being used in court. any number of things could be done to disable to camera and appear innocuous.. (how about black tape taken out of your pocket off camera.. OMG genius!!! couple that with the old 'hand over your badge' technique, and good luck picking one out of a lineup with your 2 swollen shut eyes.)

but more importantly, any record could get 'lost' just as easily. so long as the means of monitoring is physically in the realm of the cops themselves, you can count on them finding ways to deal with the evidence.. maybe not in all circumstances, but probably in many where it matters. if you think it can't or won't, then turn on the news and see the countless stories of late where with the whole 'country' watching, evidence/emails etc. have 'disappeared'. oops!

this is not to say that the whole idea is without merit - far from it. but if you think you can cure behavior that is a function of a rotting and broken widespread mindset with just a piece of hardware, you're in for a shock.

Re:dear NYPD thug, (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about 2 months ago | (#47835731)

Dude, just fucking quit. You're idea is retarded. Everything you can come up with short of a MASSIVE EMP would leave obvious evidence of the tamper. The EMP size required would leave evidence as well in other ways that would be fairly easy to spot. You'd need a truly large EMP to destroy the recording of you trying to disable the device, and thats just not something thats going to go unnoticed ... destroying flash memory for instance, is non-trivial without begin obvious.

Thats the point of a recording device like these, even if you cover your tracks by disabling it, you've still shown that you intentionally disabled it. You seem to live in some hollywood style world where all these cheese movie ploys work in the real world.

You weren't making a joke, you were being a dumbass, stop trying to pretend otherwise. Stop with the 'putting tape over the camera' ITS GOING TO RECORD YOUR HAND PUTTING TAPE OVER THE LENSE DUMBASS. It doesn't matter where you pull the tape from, its going to be easy to spot when the recording goes from working fine to suddenly having a black object slide over it and it goes dark ... hmmm ... I wonder what that could be?!?!?!? Just stop mentioning it. Its a stupid idea.

At no point in history did having a badge number have any meaning what so ever. This isn't Starsky and Hutch. Badge numbers are public information, now days you can find them on a website. Spewing one out of your mouth is as easy as spewing a random name you find on a police department roster. Its meaningless.

Records getting 'lost' is called 'spoliation of evidence'. When it happens in any trial, the police/DA are almost always assumed to be completely wrong/guilty from that point on as a matter of standard procedure ... BY LAW. The problem you're trying to claim exist was solved years ago by making mysteriously disappearing evidence essentially an admission of guilt ... BY LAW. Any 2 bit lawyer on the planet would have a field day with it.

Re:dear NYPD thug, (1)

Cardoor (3488091) | about 2 months ago | (#47835873)

i stopped reading your novella after the first two sentences.. the stupidity made my brain hurt, so i skimmed a little of the rest.

a) tongue-in-cheek humor is still humor. b) you still believe equitable resolution occurs a majority of the time by things going (and making it) to trial? how adorable.

Re:dear NYPD thug, (1)

Totenglocke (1291680) | about 2 months ago | (#47835099)

I'm going to take a shot in the dark (no pun intended) and guess you've never been in a court room. The police, district attorney / prosecutor, the public defender, and the judge are all best friends. It's a rigged system and they will not turn on their friends, because as the police bring in BS cases it keeps the public defender employed, keeps the DA / local prosecutor employed, and it lets the judge get re-elected by saying they're "tough on crime".

Re:dear NYPD thug, (2)

BitZtream (692029) | about 2 months ago | (#47835769)

I have unfortunately. There is a reason they are 'friends'.

The police, DA, judge ARE buddy buddy, they see and work with each other every day, its dumb to expect them not to trust each other ... but as soon as there is evidence rather than heresy they tend to back off and hang the cop out to dry. They protect the cop by default because 99 times out of 90, the 'victim' isn't a victim and is lying to deflect blame, get out of trouble or get some sort of money out of the police. Ferguson is a prime example of this. Multiple witnesses claiming the kid was shot in the back while running away with his hands up ... yet all the bullet wounds show that to be complete and utter bullshit ... all the wounds entered from the front, and the wounds in his arm made it clear they were not in the air when he was shot. This came from an autopsy done by someone hired by the victims mother, NOT the local government. THAT SHIT is why the judge/da believe the cop by default, and THAT is why cops get by with being thugs in some instances. That sort of shit is also why MANY of them ARE thugs, because they deal with the trashiest of trashy people most of the time. Thats their job, by definition.

These cameras will stop both sides from being such open and obvious racists. Well, no, it won't stop them, but it'll make it obvious for everyone else so we don't have riots in towns because a bunch of people wanted to cover each others asses and start shit because one guy was a different color than the other.

Re:dear NYPD thug, (1)

Totenglocke (1291680) | about 2 months ago | (#47835941)

but as soon as there is evidence rather than heresy they tend to back off and hang the cop out to dry Not true at all. I've sat in my local courthouse to watch for a few hours and see what really goes on - I watched multiple cases where there was no evidence at all, simply a cop's claims and they all resulted in guilty verdicts.

Not perfect, but good (1)

Kohath (38547) | about 2 months ago | (#47834579)

This should help. For really incriminating behavior, I would expect the cameras to "malfunction" most of the time. But for ordinary, day-to-day contact with the public, it will be a lot easier to just not act like a complete asshole than to hide the evidence later.

What good are cameras (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47834581)

What good are cameras, when the officers are not held accountable for their criminal actions? Cameras have been around for over a decade, though maybe not as body cameras, yet many times police have been caught on film.

Double-edged sword (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 2 months ago | (#47834587)

When these cameras are used to feed a policeman's AR glasses and are running full-time face recognition, gait analysis and LPR along with a comms interface, you're going to have hivemind supercops, not necessarily a good thing with a so very imperfect set of laws.

Re:Double-edged sword (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47835847)

When these cameras are used to feed a policeman's AR glasses and are running full-time face recognition, gait analysis and LPR along with a comms interface, you're going to have hivemind supercops, not necessarily a good thing with a so very imperfect set of laws.

That goes both ways. AR + Google Glass + data source (which can by anything from a database of speed trap spots, radar detector reports, etc) == "Speed trap ahead." "Plainclothes cop detected." (In fact, if there's a wireless signal between the cop-cam and the mothership, that, in principle, could be detected, and since the only people using body-mounted cameras with datastreams characteristic of TASR and DGLY devices are going to be cops... the playing field might very well be even.)

video retention (1)

raind (174356) | about 2 months ago | (#47834635)

"While the 60-camera pilot program will get running for about $60,000, IT costs are expected to quickly outstrip that amount."

The idea of video seems good, just wait for the requests for compliance, data storage, lawyers etc. Can't see it going very far with 60K

Re:video retention (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about 2 months ago | (#47834733)

Can't see it going very far with 60K

... which is why they said 'IT costs are expected to quickly outstrip that amount'.

However, with that said, this really isn't any different than all the other evidence handling. Storage space is cheap and small. Throwing a few SD cards (or something with better lifetimes) into a box with the rest of the case information and keeping online copies for recent cases isn't really that big of a deal. They already do all this for photos, videos are hardly any more difficult to manage. Just another item in an existing process.

Realistically, once the kinks are worked out, this really shouldn't cost much extra at all.

Don't Let the Perfect be the Enemy of the Good (1)

jratcliffe (208809) | about 2 months ago | (#47834781)

Yes, police body cameras are far from a perfect solution. They're a definite improvement, though, both for citizens, and for honest police officers. Certainly, they won't record all interactions, and you might have situations where the camera "malfunctioned." That "malfunction" is going to create questions in and of itself, though. If you're an attorney suing the city over a complaint of police brutality, and the officer claims that, during the time your client claims he was being mistreated, the camera "malfunctioned," that's something the jury is going to take into account, particularly if the camera worked just fine the rest of the time.

corruption (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about 2 months ago | (#47835475)

This could also help with corrupt cops, ones on the dole you know? wont be able to try and bribe a cop if hes wearing a camera

Re:corruption (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about 2 months ago | (#47835783)

No, you just do it when he's not on duty ... kind of like they do now. Perhaps its time to lay off the smoke man

These are great money-makers for cops and ex-cops (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47834829)

In Albuquerque we struck on the perfect balance. Our ex police chief now works for the company that sell us our cop cams, and the cops are required to wear the cams (probably a good idea) so he has guaranteed pension-enhancing revenue.

And since the cams just happen to "malfunction" literally over half of the time whenever a cop shoots someone, the cops don't have to worry about the things generating evidence of police wrongdoing.

Even better, the police now say they spend about 15%-20% of their time (i.e. about a sixth of the public's policing budget) every day "processing" the downloaded video. So the police don't have to work quite as hard for their paychecks.

Everyone wins.

Re:These are great money-makers for cops and ex-co (1)

rogoshen1 (2922505) | about 2 months ago | (#47835053)

Well now that Heisenberg is no more, has your crime rate dropped at all?

1984 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47834885)

If you think this is just to monitor police activity, think again. The camera is pointed at you and is gathering evidence. Add in facial recognition and automated warrant / terrorist / no-fly list / social networking checks and you are one step closer to 1984.

Yes, But How Would YOU Design the System? (1)

eepok (545733) | about 2 months ago | (#47835085)

I know next to nothing about what is required to inventory, issue, use, download, store, index, and recall all the hardware and video that would be required for such a system. I can only speculate. Has anyone had experience in this realm? Creating massive databases for video or images and indexing them in such a way that police reports could be tied directly to them and be pulled up as necessary?

If so, in your perfect world, how would you build the system and how much would it cost?

Fuck da police (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47835119)

Bunch of brainless thugs.

An interesting additional idea. (1)

queazocotal (915608) | about 2 months ago | (#47835139)

The cop cameras will presumably have evidential and tamper resistant design.
if you're concerned about off-camera and camera broken incidents - it would be interesting if you could also purchase one of them.

Does it mater? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47835997)

If police are reluctant to share the names and details "death by cop", why should we expect them to share their videos?

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