Body Cams are meant to be turned on at ALL times! Citizens, as well as police officers, wanted body cams for security. For protection. But if the officers are free to turn them on and off at will, what is the point in wearing them?
I thought this was one of the best ideas for law enforcement officers in many years. They would have live visual and audio recordings proving their side of an arrest. They would have a video of a citizen either cooperating or not cooperating. Their testimonies in court would be more accurate because there would be live video of the arrest.
The citizens would be protected. If an officer stepped out of line, harmed someone unnecessarily, planted drugs on them, the citizen would have the proof he or she needed for their testimony to prove their innocence.
But why are they allowed to be turned on and off at will? Why aren’t they turned on the moment they stepped into their vehicles to begin their duties and turned off only when they return to the station when their tasks are finished for the day? (And no, I’m not going to argue about bathroom breaks!) It’s a part of their essential gear they strap on every day. Would an officer get out of his car without his gun? Or his handcuffs? Any equipment that he would need to make an arrest? Then why would his bodycam be turned off until he “decides” to turn it on? Why is the officer allowed to make that decision? After, if he gets out of the car and is attacked by, who’s to say what’s the truth and what isn’t? The body cam protects both the citizen and the officer.
And why are they not a part of public arrest records? Everything an officer writes or types in a report is open to the public. Therefore why would the videos not be made available to the public? It’s all a part of the arrest record, correct?
This video, along with statements from the LAPD that they will be launching an investigation, make it very clear what needs to be done. Put it on, turn it on and leave it on. If you have nothing to hide, why would you turn it off? And if you have nothing to hide, why is it not in the public records?
I still believe these body cams are an essential part of every officer’s daily gear. But it’s obvious, someone needs to make some rules and see that they are followed! And if a law needs to be written to make them a part of public records, then that also needs to take place.