Daytona Beach Police shot a man holding a knife to a woman, injuring the suspect. The incident was investigated and the officers were later cleared in the shooting – partly because a small video camera on one of the officers captured it all.
Several agencies – from L.A. to Miami – already have officers wearing so-called body cameras. Taser International, one of the top body cam manufacturers in the country, has supplied more than 1,200 law enforcement agencies with its wearable cameras. The body cameras run about $400 – on top of a monthly fee to store the recorded data online.
Miami-Dade Police is looking to purchase 500 cameras through a pilot program before arming its 2,700 officers with one.
“The reason that we’re doing it is not so much for to remind our officers that they have to behave,” said Maj. Nancy Perez with the Miami-Dade Police Department. “I think the biggest interest with these cameras are to be able to capture anything the officer might have missed when he is dealing with a scene that could be of great importance and great public interest.”
The cameras recently received attention after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. The officer was not wearing a body camera.
Baylor Johnson with the American Civil Liberties Union said body cameras won’t “resolve every dispute that people have with police.”
“It’s easy to speculate but hard to prove that in even high profile cases that we’ve had over the years that if the officers had been wearing cameras things would have turned out differently. But it’s an important step and just because something isn’t going to be a cure-all doesn’t mean it’s not a step that we should take to make police better and our community safer,” he added.
Credit: Suzette Laboy and Bradley Blackburn