Restoring the Public's Trust in Law Enforcement One Cop Cam At a Time

by elaynna_baker on October 4, 2016 - 12:07am

The Department of Justice is anticipating that in their efforts they restore the trust between law enforcement and citizens. Body cameras are being appointed to officers in some communities. Over the past few years multiple counts of questionable tactics used by police officers have been caught on camera by civilians and bystanders . From Dontre Hamilton to Keith Scott we’ve seen and heard of multiple police shootings upon unarmed black men over the past few years. We turn on the news and we see another police shooting almost every day it seems, it's becoming more and more frequent. With the cop cams we can get a see a more accurate perspective of police shootings, we can see the encounter go down from police’s standpoint. Although a study done by an Arizona University professor in 2014 showed that body cameras produced little change in the public’s perspective on law enforcement. However body cameras did create a change in officer’s behavior by producing productivity, and overall reducing complaints against officers.


Phippen, J. W. (2016, September 26). Funding For Body Cameras. The Atlantic.


What originally drew me to this post was its relevance as it relates to our society today. Police brutality and violence against people of colour is not anything really new as historically the police have always really been oppressive of racial minorities. I believe that the use of body cams, instead of showing the increase in police activity and violence against people of colour has instead just shown that is happening and exposing it more to the public. I found it very interesting when you stated from the study that you read, that body cams have done little in order to change the public’s perception on police. It is showing what the police are doing from a firsthand perspective. They cannot hide their actions anymore. It makes me wonder what type of racism this is; is it individual, purely on the level of the individual police? Or is it more systematic? I believe that the punishments that some of the white police officers have received in relation to the crimes they have committed show that the racism is at a very systematic level, sometimes receiving very little punishments for killing unarmed people of colour. Your post did inspire me to search for the original text in order to understand more of the topic.

I agree upon the point that body cams are a positive accessory to the police force, as this is what attracted me to this post. A body cam reassures the population, yet the population already uses cell phones to record the police. The body cam, of course didn’t completely change the social image/ construct of the police as it’s a recent addition to the force and not every cop has this reassuring tool. The body cam is a reassuring tool for everyone, and so I don’t understand only using cops killing black men. Yes, it is true that the media propagates this information daily, but there are so many other victims of police brutality that this post could have added by adding an extra example or statistical information about police brutality. The possibilities of the body cam are endless and so can be applied to other sectors that would require such a tool. Now, I am not excluding that there are racist cops with a systematic approach to certain minorities, which lead them to lose their lives or have unfair treatment. Yet, with body cams as said in the post, change how the officer behaves during intervention which I think is a huge accomplishment, in order to have a more linear police force and experience. This post made me analyze the original text, as I needed to know where this information came from.

What drew me to this post was the link between racism and the police department. I do not agree that the cop cams have a good impact on the situation of racism. These body cams have for goal to restore trust between officers and citizens. One of the main problems between the population and the police is racism and I do not think that this concept is going to decrease it. During these past few years, the citizens did video tape a lot of bad behavior against people of color and it did not change anything because even today, there is still more aggression. The “cop cam” might be seen as a good thing because every move of the officers are saved and watched. The officers are aware that they have a camera and all their reactions against people are filmed and this have a huge impact on the behavior of an officer because their actions are not going to reflect the reality of police brutality in an everyday life. They are going to behave carefully because they do not want to have problems with their hierarchy. During this time, the officers without a cam are going to act the same and the racism made against the population is not going to change and will continue and maybe increase. I also think that this “cop cam” concept was instore to re-insure the population by trying to propagate a false solution. This post is well-written and made me want to read more the original post because I wanted to know more about the origin of the information’s and how many officers are going to have body cameras.

What drew me to this was the new body cam initiative. i understand that it would make people more comfortable due to the recent police actions, but there is a lot more we can do with 20 million dollars than using body cams. That 20 million could go towards initiatives to bring together the community and the police, instead of buying cameras proven not to work. I interned with my local and state police departments, including the DEA. i witnessed the kind of budget cuts they went through. And now tacking on an extra 20 million could not only make it tough on police officers, but also cut the job market for law enforcement. Instead of focusing on recording our officers on the job, lets focusing on creating communal bonds that strangthen the relationships between people and police.

What truly interested me was whether or not the idea of the body cam will truly work. I think its a good idea as well as a step in the right direction for fixing police brutality. It's hard for me to say if police brutality is because of police abusing the power that they are given or if it is people not following the orders that are spoken from the police in tense situations. I think it is an unfortunate mix of both their have been people that said he was just going for his wallet so you shouldn't have shot him, but the other side to that is the police said raise your hands and don't move so you should do nothing else except exactly that. These body cameras will certainly give us a more in depth look on how situations like these are handled and i think police will certainly be trying do the best they can now that they know they are being put on camera, even though they should have been the whole time. It is unfortunate how Police should be something we should have pride in and with the shootings that seem to occur every day with always two different sides to the same story that pride has been shattered in the force. The body cam's will show us what truly is happening.

I was drawn to your post because this topic is very prevalent today. I don't see body cameras having any real effect on how the police go about their jobs. The reason for that is that their are talks in the news about how officers are gaining the power of what to release to the public when it comes to what was caught on the body cameras. That defeats the whole purpose if cops can choose what can be given to the public. It creates bias if the public is only given a clip of video from a shooting or police harassment. This is why I don't see it as a real change. Instead of trying to put cameras on the policemen, the mentalities of the policemen should change. This is not to say I am talking about all policemen but the ones that are quick to kill should be checked. A camera will do very little to do so. Also a camera will do nothing because people have been catching police officers acting inappropriately and many still get off with paid suspension. If the punishment is the same then no one will care if there is a camera on them or not. I have seen dash cameras and body cameras in my city but it doesn't make me feel any different as a male minority if their are no true consequences or accountability for actions.

I was immediately drawn to this post because i believe that this is a very strong and relevant issue that america is facing. Trust in police officers is very slim and not many people agree with the cops nowadays. I was always taught to respect cops and always trust they will do the right thing. That is why i think if these body cams will actually work and help restore trust in the police then hopefully it will happen. These cameras will show the everyday good things that cops do and not those few incidents that capture police doing awful and brutal things to american citizens.

What drew me to this post was the mentioning of law enforcement. I myself have an interest in pursuing a career in law enforcement, so the mentioning of police officers catches my attention every time. My senior year I attended the North Providence Citizens Police Academy, so I was given the chance to see more of a behind the scenes for policing. The public tends to forget that these officers are normal people just like us. They have feelings just like us. But the two most important things that should be kept in mind, is that these police officers have families, and they're human, they are going to make mistakes just like everyone else.
The idea of having body cameras is very controversial. Some will feel that it is an invasion of privacy. Also, there is the question of whether or not they will actually be helpful. These video recordings are the same as those recordings by everyday people, however those recordings are cut and shaped by the public to paint the picture negatively. Who is to say that law enforcement will not do the same thing? I believe that it is worth a try to have such a thing.
Regarding your post, I would have liked to know more of your own personal view.

Your post drew me in because your title implied that police officers need a restoration in public trust which is bizarre because as a police officer that should be one of the primary goals, the public should trust you to keep them safe. When this is questioned we wonder if police officers are actually a part of society's problems. You mention that body cams are being installed on some police officers to track their behavior and to track what really happens in confrontations with the law. I think you are right that body cams will change behavior because they will know that someone is watching what they do. After all, police are humans too so they also have prejudices and bias opinions without meaning to. No body is perfect so it is absolutely possible that sometimes it is a fault of the law enforcer. I have heard stories about when people get pulled over and depending if it is a pretty female driver versus a male driver a male police officer is more likely to let the lady off the hook and be more harsh on the male based simply on human desires and behaviors. I think the body cams will be a great way to make sure that our police are actually doing justice rather than crime too.

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