Photo via Flickr user Oakley Originals
“For the past 12 months, police officers in Rialto, California, have been wearing cameras while on duty as part of a pilot program. Its expensive to mount a camera on every uniformed cop, but the idea is that by recording all the interactions between officers and civilians and suspects, cops will behave better and complaints against the department will be quickly resolvedif someone makes a claim about being mistreated, it can be easily proved or disproved by a look at the tape.
The experiment seems to be going well, and starting September 1, all 66 uniformed officers in Rialto will wear them.
Complaints against the department have gone down 88 percent over the course of the year-long study while the use of force by officers declined by more than half, implying that cameras really do benefit both police and civilians.
Indeed, a New York Daily News article highlighted the case of Rialto cop Randy Peterson, who was cleared of an excessive-force allegation lodged against him by a mentally disturbed man thanks to his body camera.
But not all departments are as forward-thinking as Rialtos, or as concerned with the future of police accountability,” quoting Lucy Steigerwald on the Bad Cop Blotter.
A test should be administered annually to all law enforcement officers on the oath they swore to uphold, defend and protect the Constitution of the United States.
Oh, and while we’re at it, this test should also be administered annually to ALL elected officials, as well.