Who will watch the watchers? Apparently the watchers..
March 13, 2014
Police in Denver are testing a solution they hope will give a much-needed boost to their public persona.
Denver PD is acquiring new guns and armor, and for the next six months will engage in a body camera pilot program in attempts to ingratiate themselves to a police-corruption weary public.
The cameras will be smaller than Go-Pro devices and are part of a public relations effort aimed “to restore the relationship between Denver police and the public, especially in Lower Downtown,” according to CBS Denver.
Police are reportedly “hoping the tiny cameras will bring a big dose of credibility to the department.”
“Individuals make allegations … ‘The officer did this or the officer did that.’ Or the officers make allegations, ‘I did this, or I did that’ based on the incident,” Police Chief Robert White told KCNC. “It’s right there on the camera.”
The cameras will not, however, automatically begin recording an incident. They must be initiated by the officers themselves, basically still allowing them to selectively choose what they want filmed.
“Essentially I’m the producer and director of my own video involving my police action and interaction with the public,” Detective Tony Weathersby said.
Officer shows off $800 body camera members of Denver PD’s District 6 will be testing out for the next six months. / Photo via KCNC
But, once filming has started, it cannot be deleted. The camera synchs to the web via an officer’s smartphone and gets uploaded to a police server, preventing an officer from deleting his footage.
As numerous citizen journalists can attest, police officers through either sheer ignorance or defiance will often stop citizens from filming incidents, confiscate their cell phones or cameras, then delete the footage.
Last month, one man claimed he was beaten by an NYPD officer and arrested for filming an incident. The officer who arrested the man neglected to mention in his police report that the man had been filming and that the officer had deleted the footage, which the man was fortunately able to recover.
In September 2012, Dallas police shot a man 41 times, then confiscated another man’s camera, which was used to film the bloody event, and also allegedly proceeded to delete the incriminating footage.
And recently it also happened in Fall River, Mass., when a man recorded a police officer who was shouting profanities across the street from his home. The man was arrested for “surreptitiously” filming the officer and his footage was mysteriously deleted while in custody.
“From my perspective it’s a safety issue and will clearly identify the truth,” Police Chief White claims, but this will only hold true if officers choose to press the “record” button.