Unless you live under a rock, you are very familiar with the growing tension between the police and the general public. There have been several incidents between law enforcement and civilians that have sparked an outcry of police overreach, and the “Blue Lives Matter” rebuttal to it. Many people have very strong opinions on one side or the other of the debate, but there is one thing they all have in common: the need for police dash cameras and police body cameras.
Police dash camera offer several benefits to protecting both the boys in blue who use them, and the general public. The cost to maintain and run police dash cameras is fairly nominal; especially with the availability of cloud storage, which makes storing all of the data recorded with the police dash cameras simple and inexpensive. A few other benefits of instituting police dash cameras across all law enforcement agencies are listed below:
Four Reasons That We All Benefit From Police Dash Cameras
- Police officers are safer with dash cams.
Even a simple traffic stop can be extremely dangerous for a police officer. The reason the suspect is being pulled over might be inconsequential. Maybe they have a brake light out or they made an improper lane change. These kind of traffic stops don’t even result in a citation. However, if the suspect has a reason to not want to be pulled over — perhaps they have outstanding warrant, they are driving under the influence, or they have something in their vehicle that they don’t want a cop to discover, the situation can easily become dangerous.
Just as thieves are less likely to steal from an establishment if they know there are surveillance cameras, a driver is less likely to become dangerous if they know they are being recorded and will be caught. The best way to protect a cop in a dangerous situation is to avoid the dangerous situation altogether. Dash cams help do that.
- Dash cams reduce the police department’s liability for law suits.
One reason that all cop cars are not outfitted with dash cams yet is the up-front and ongoing costs of them. However, these costs make up for themselves in avoided lawsuits.
Most police officers are legitimately good humans, who wear the badge because they have an earnest desire to do good. However, not all of the nearly one million police officers in our country are good (because it’s next to impossible to find any category of one million people who are all good). In fact, sometimes generally good people make mistakes. Just as criminals are less likely to do something they shouldn’t if they know they’re being recorded, cops are less likely to violate the faith we put in them if they know they’re on camera. Avoiding abuse of authority altogether avoids millions of dollars in expensive lawsuits for the police department.
- Dash cams provide realistic training opportunities to improve the preparedness of new police officers.
One important factor in preventing police-involved incidents is properly equipping them to diffuse volatile situations before they ever become deadly. There are a variety of tools that can be used to train police officers, but one incredibly effective tool is showing them the exact situations they could face, and how to deal with them. The better trained our police officers are, the less likely a lapse in judgement will arise.
- Dash cams provide an unbiased and truthful account of a situation.
When there is a clash between a civilian and a police officer, there are very often several witnesses at the scene who all have differing accounts of the events. Perhaps friends of the civilian will suggest that the police officer used excessive force. Perhaps the cops themselves will suggest they had reasonable suspicion that the suspect was dangerous. Even witnesses who are not involved in the incident will have a natural biased that impacts their point of view. However, if the events are captured by a dash cam, there is not biased that skews the perspective of the account. Only the cold, hard truth. This protects both cops and the public, and serves justice to the guilty party when the situation does escalate.
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