PCP: St. Louis Park plans to buy body cameras for police
Discussion surrounds the city’s decision to implement body-worn cameras for officers by the end of 2019, according to the police.
February 21, 2019
Police cameras necessary
Police camera installation benefits community
The city’s decision to use body-worn cameras is an excellent choice as it will help protect both police officers and the public.
Body-worn cameras (BWCs) provide a witness for encounters between the public and police officers. This perspective is valuable as it can be used to justify the actions of officers or obtain justice for civilians.
In recent years, the Black Lives Matter movement — among other socially motivated groups — has brought light to the need for accountability of law enforcement. The use of BWCs can address this issue by creating transparency between the police and the public.
The cameras can also help protect police from false claims of misconduct by providing an additional view on difficult situations.
Although BWCs are costly, their use makes them more than worth it.
Cameras can lead to public trust of law enforcement, which is essential to a peaceful society. The adoption and use of BWCs by St. Louis Park police will encourage a safer city for all.
Cost of cameras would be better spent elsewhere
After reading the body-worn camera policy, it became apparent that the devices are too pricy and their effectiveness is still unproven.
The primary issue with body-worn cameras (BWCs) is the cost. According to the Bureau of Justice Assistance, it would cost around $1,166 to outfit each officer.
When considering how many officers must be equipped with a camera, the pricetag becomes extreme. We must also consider the cost of storing the massive amount of video from the cameras.
In addition, the usage of body-worn cameras in law enforcement is a relatively new practice, meaning there has been little time for their effectiveness to be researched.
Instead of investing in BWCs right now, St. Louis Park should wait to see if costs drop, as they likely will as more police forces adopt similar policies.
The city should also wait to see if it is proven that they are effective in preventing police brutality and protecting the public in the first place, or else they entirely unnecessary.