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August 14, 2012
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Facebook Forum: Are body-worn video cameras a good idea?

What's your take on body-worn cameras? Have you ever been in a situation where you wished you had one?

By PoliceOne Staff

More departments are adopting body-worn video cameras, and they’re capturing incidents like this one, which shows the entry of a suicidal, armed man into a Burnsville, Minn., police station in February — and everything the officers did in response.

“What's your take on body-worn cameras? Have you ever been in a situation where you wished you had one?”  We posed the question to our Facebook fans to get their opinion on the technology trend.

Below are 10 compelling answers. Read them and tell us in the Comments section whether you agree or disagree.

1.) I wear one. It is priceless evidence in court or when a complaint is filed against you. You can't pass up a deal like $60 for your protection and unwavering evidence. — Brian McManus

2.) I would like a body worn camera as long as it were voluntary and couldn't be used against me. Nobody's perfect, and one little curse word that slips out documented on film for the world to see is a career ender. — Allen Cantrell

3.) I think they are an excellent idea. In high risk warrants, we are always either clearing holsters or using long guns, so it would be nice to have that extra protection legally. I’m thinking of getting a pair of sunglasses with a camera in them. — Wil Moran

4.) No issue with them here. However, it has been proven that the camera will NOT always catch what the officer sees and in court that can be a bitch. The camera does not show everything that the wearer does and once this is introduced as "evidence," juries expect to see EVERYTHING and have an explanation as to why what you saw wasn't on the video...ie lighting, angles, etc. I have no issue with them and I think they're a great tool. — Ryan Brown

5.) Pros and cons, but I'd say the best evidence for their use would be once it saved your life/career by catching events as they really happened. I guess I'm pro! — Bill Peddicord

6.) I LOVE this day/age of cameras everywhere. They have saved my bacon many times where, otherwise, it would've been my word against theirs. As a security professional, I always tell my people to get a witness before acting. — Keith Mohrhoff

7.) It's a tough call. The vast majority of officer involved use of deadly force are fully justified. What body-worn cameras do IMO is make it easier to Monday morning quarterback officer responses. The officer may make a totally irrelevant statement out of shock and adrenaline dump, or a partner, and then you have a political blood bath/witch hunt because some off the cuff comment was made. I've decided I'm okay with them if they're video only. — Jeff Kaplan

8.) It strikes me as sad that police officers word no longer carries any weight on its own. Even with a camera someone out there will always try to twist the plain truth or play Monday morning quarterback. — Darrell Algarin

9.) My department issues them to every officer and they have been a blessing for DUIs and traffic stops. — Tom Blake

10.) They are great. We have them at our department and they have saved us on many complaints that were not valid. It also cost someone their job; it works both ways and it doesn't misconstrue facts. — Vicki Byrd



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