Cast Your Vote: Wearable Cameras for Law Enforcement
As a resident of Berkeley, I am a little ashamed to say that I was oblivious to the demonstrations that took place here over the weekend. I don’t live near the city center, and though I did find it odd that there were a couple helicopters in the area on Saturday afternoon, I didn’t think much of it. It was only on when I was on the BART riding into San Francisco that I heard the news – over the intercom an announcement came out that BART would be making no stops in downtown Berkeley due to protests.
As we can now see from the news coverage and Twitter pictures, over the weekend Berkeley experienced what numerous other cities across the country are experiencing – massive protests over the recent grand jury announcements regarding the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown.
In addition to wide-scale protests, these announcements have sparked a national debate over what reforms aught to be implemented in police departments. In an effort to inform and provide the opportunity for you to weigh in on the debate, Civinomics presents you with one of the proposed reforms that is receiving the most attention.
Many have called for police departments throughout the country to implement a wearable cameras policy. Proponents of this approach say that wearing body cameras will bring more accountability and transparency to law enforcement, ultimately leading to greater trust from the public. President Obama early last week announced a $75,000,000 program to distribute 50,000 cameras to police departments throughout the country.
However, many expert caution that wearable cameras are not necessarily a panacea. Important questions with such a policy arise, such as when officers should turn the camera on and what disciplinary actions should be taken if officers fail to record important events. Then, there is the fact that despite the recording of the Eric Garner arrest, no indictment was made.
Still, many police departments throughout the country, including in northern California, have already or are currently adopting a wearable camera policy. Do you support this reform? Vote and weigh in here.