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View Diary: Cop cams could change police behavior, but technology can only do so much (175 comments)

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  •  Create a legal presumption (6+ / 0-)

    There's a legal presumption that when cops have access to evidence and it is destroyed or lost, the presumption in court is that it would've helped the defense.

    Build a presumption into the national law people are trying to get passed to require all cops to wear body cameras. Create a presumption that says if the department has cameras and the cop had a camera, if no footage is recovered from the camera and the state cannot prove a simple equipment malfunction, it is presumed the evidence would have helped the legal side opposite the police in court, whether that side is a criminal defendant or a civil plaintiff.

    This will build in the incentives to stop cops from turning off or disabling their cameras.

    •  That's not enough. (4+ / 0-)

      That only gets their victims out of jail after a nice lengthy week behind bars. After a couple thousand in "fines" and "processing fees" racked up. And maybe a beating or two.

      There needs to be automatic sanction if they tamper with a recorder, with firing and automatic criminal charges for repeated offenses.

      Otherwise, nothing keeps them from just turning off or sabotaging recorders over and over.

      •  My initial feeling on this... (0+ / 0-)

        ...was that the cameras should always be on whenever officer was on active duty or interacting with someone in an official role (so, they could be off when two cops are on break eating doughnuts and talking, but when a citizen walks up and says "officer, where is the nearest doughnut shop?", they must be turned on immediately - perhaps saving the last ten seconds of a continuous, but not normally stored when "off" loop, so the initial contact is also saved).

        However, reading more and thinking more, there ARE cases where turning off the camera may be appropriate. Mostly these are around talking to "confidential informants" or  witnesses who are willing to give a hint to a cop about who did something but not willing to be "on the record". To put such witnesses at risk or cause them to clam up would not be good for the public. Careful polices need to be established (including that any data stored on the officer's person needs to be encrypted -- we don't want people killing officers to find out who they have been talking to in the last hour).

        •  There would/will be great resistance... (0+ / 0-)

          ... to having the cameras on all the time. And I can actually understand that. I would rather not have how many doughnuts I ate during coffee break recorded or my trip to the men's room but if the officer touches his tazer, firearm, billyclub, and any other piece of official equipment, then the camera turns on. What would be wrong with that?

        •  Alright (0+ / 0-)

          you do have a valid point.

          However, before a cop turns off a recorder, the reason should always be stated into the recorder.

          Failure to do so should be dealt with harshly and automatically, as should lying about why a recorder was turned off.

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