Body cameras can be a cop's best friend
It’s 2016, folks. If you think you’re not being recorded, in some capacity or another, you’re delusional.
You know what I like better than being right?
Being right with video evidence.
Let’s start with an interesting factoid many people may not realize: It may very well be months, if not well over a year, between when I issue a citation and when the day in court comes (assuming of course, the driver is daft enough to fight the citation).
Why does that matter?
Because odds are you, the civilian, don’t keep records like I do. See, I make my notes contemporaneous with the stop. I also have access to the wonderful tech that is video.
My motorcycle is equipped with a forward-facing camera. I not only carry a body mic so I can record our conversations should I need to refresh my memory (say, seven months after the violation) …I also have my aforementioned notes that likely include whatever ridiculous excuse you tossed my way.
I tell you all of that because, when I testify in court, the odds are ever in my favor that I am testifying accurately. I don’t know many defendants that take the time to write down what they said and what they did leading up to and including the violation and stop.
But, I do. Thus, when you want to argue with me in court, you may be correct on a subtle nuance to a small degree; however, when you tell me I wasn’t parked where I said I was (even though that’s literally the only place I park when doing enforcement in that area), and I testified you were in one lane, but you insist you were in a different lane, and then you tell me it’s impossible for a 2008 Land Rover to travel “at that speed”? Well, sir or ma’am, I can assure you that you are indeed not remembering things as accurately as I.
The best part? When I drop this little bomb: I reviewed the video evidence prior to coming to court and you. Lose. Your. Mind. “I would like to see that video!” you demand.
“Lovely,” I say. “Come on down to the PD and you can view it. Unfortunately, you didn’t subpoena it today.”
“I’m going to file a complaint!” you pout.
Knock yourself out. Although, I struggle to figure out the legitimacy of such an action.
Not so shockingly, they never show up to review the video. Just for kicks, I watched the video after court again.
Guess who was parked where he testified. Guess what lane the defendant was in.
Here’s not much of a spoiler: Guilty.
So, for those cops that decry the use of body cameras/car cameras, I must admit I don’t understand your point of view. Those suckers have proven me right time and again. It’s 2016, folks. If you think you’re not being recorded, you’re delusional.