Body Cameras: Regaining Trust and Credibility
Recent events involving law enforcement uses of deadly force coupled with irresponsible media coverage have put law enforcement on the defensive. Unfortunately, the mainstream media and its pundits are not required to exercise any form of due process. Their coverage and associated narratives have catapulted police into a defensive position and the “mob rule” effect has been felt nationwide. So-called “victims” of police brutality have called for action and the public outcry for the use and implementation of body-worn cameras are being hailed as the answer, but not the “panacea” (Bruer, 2015). This leadership white paper will address the reasons why body-worn cameras should be implemented and used by law enforcement agencies as well as address some of the obstacles currently being encountered and how to address those obstacles. In order to remain transparent and regain legitimacy in law enforcement, body-worn cameras offer yet another tool to record even the most intimate events they encounter. As they create a heightened sense of self-awareness by both the officer and the citizen, body-worn cameras have the potential of reducing uses of force, abusive behavior by the wearer, and untruthful citizen complaints, thus creating opportunities to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the communities they serve.