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Growing Use of Police Body Cameras Raises Privacy Concerns

September 29, 2014  | 

Scores of law enforcement agencies already use body-worn cameras, and calls for more have only grown across the U.S. after recent cases involving use of force have pitted the word of police officers against angry residents, reports the L.A. Times.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and the Los Angeles Police Department, along with police in New York, Chicago, and Washington, have launched pilot programs to test cameras for wider deployment.

But equipping police with such devices also raises new and unsettled issues over privacy at a time when many Americans have been critical of the kind of powerful government surveillance measures that technology has made possible.

For many departments, questions remain about when officers should be allowed to turn off such cameras — especially in cases involving domestic violence or rape victims — and the extent to which video could be made public.

A recent federal survey of 63 law enforcement agencies using body cameras said nearly a third of the agencies had no written policy on the devices. (It is not known how many agencies overall currently use body cameras.)


Comments (2)

Displaying 1 - 2 of 2

132&Bush @ 9/29/2014 5:34 PM

There is bs stuff going on here. The public can film cops anywhere and post to youtube. Why in this day and age is there any concern left.

Kevin J. Street @ 10/20/2014 5:46 AM

If one is walking in public, talking in public or being in the public, there is no expectation of privacy.

This is a non issue raised by someone who is not well versed upon the law but has an abundance of opinion.

The body cam is eliminating the majority of complaints against the rank & file officers. When John Q. Public state to my Chief that I was rude on the traffic stop, the Chief pulls up the video and offers to watch it with the complainer. What is happening is folks are now being confronted with irrefutable proof of what actually transpired. The body cam is vindicating officers from spurious complaints, unfounded complaints or tactical complaints to gain favor for a dismissal of the citation issued.

I use the body cam as a diary of a call. I identify the myself, I record my call to Dispatch and then walk through the call with the camera going, recording my thoughts. It helps with report writing. It also provides a perspective of the calls in the daily routine.

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