The Use of Body-Worn Cameras by Law Enforcement for Evidence, Evaluation and Training




Sidebottom, Bryan

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Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT)



In today’s American society, law enforcement officers are being scrutinized more now than ever before. Law enforcement officers responding to calls of service sometimes find themselves involved in a use of force situation or officer involved shooting. In many of these cases, society wants to know what happened and why. In some instances, citizens will actually record the incident and post it live on the internet or show it later on social media. Law enforcement officers and agencies in general find themselves backtracking and trying to defend themselves in their actions. Society wants law enforcement to be transparent and accountable. Today, the body-worn camera has come to the forefront in law enforcement because it is mobile and not static. A law enforcement officer can be issued a body-worn camera to wear on duty, thereby enabling the officer to video record interactions with those he/she comes into contact with. This will provide that transparency, which will help restore the trust in society with law enforcement officers across the country. The videos from these cameras can be used for evidentiary purposes, whether against a suspect or an officer. They can be used to refute complaints and also put the person being videoed on notice that they are being recorded. They can be used as an evaluation tool to assist law enforcement supervisors in assessing their officer’s performance. If an officer is in need of training, then the video can be used to show the officer his/her deficiencies. Therefore, all law enforcement officers should wear body worn cameras for evidentiary, evaluating, and training purposes.


Wearable video devices in police work, Legal photography