The other night I responded to a neighboring city to contact the suspect in a hit and run collision. An officer from the neighboring department was also there. When I was done with the interview, I walked up to the suspect vehicle so the damage would show up in the video from my body worn camera. It was easy. I didn’t even have to get a regular camera out.
I looked over at the officer from the other department and said, “I love this thing.” With a raised eyebrow he looked at me like I was kidding. That’s when I said, “No, really. This thing is great.” He still looked like he didn’t believe me as he said, “Really?”
I then told him the advantages I have seen in a short time. Another officer from our department also told him the same thing.
He still didn’t look convinced and told me his department was testing them out. He said it would be hard to get used to. I told him it was easier to use than the audio recorder and it showed so much more. He still didn’t seem convinced.
He then said something lame. He said it would be easier for the younger officers to use because they were more technologically savvy. I could tell he was resistant to change.
Lately I’ve been asking random officers at my department what they thought about the BWC. Every person has instantly said they like it. Every one of them has also told me a story where the BWC was better than audio because it showed so much more.
A lot of officers also brought up stories where they wished they had the BWC when someone complained.
One motor officer told me a unique way how he uses his BWC on car stops. While on the stop he’ll hold the license up to the BWC so it will be part of the video in case something happened to him. I never thought of that.
The other night someone showed me a picture they took on their phone of a hit and run license plate. I held the phone up to my BWC so there was proof the witness actually took the pic. This way there was no doubt we had the correct license plate number.
I’m here to say this thing has been great. It’s not perfect, but I’m glad my department spent the money for the BWC sooner, rather than later. It will make our jobs easier in this crazy environment.
There’s nothing like having the video show how some of these people act on calls. It’s unfortunate that it has come to that, but that’s the world we live in.
It cracks me up on calls where people pull out their phones to record us. That’s fine. I’m recording you too.
More importantly, I have more gigabyte space to do it.
Jurisdictions that have tried out these cameras have found that citizen complaints go down and so do uses of force. Sounds like a win for everybody. Cameras are already in most squad cars; this is the next logical step.
It’s only going to protect me in the long run. So I’m all for it. haha
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And the use of BWC’s should be extended to all public funded employees starting with elected officials. All those lobbyist luncheons…
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