Likely stemming from controversial police decisions in the past year, the Bellevue Police Department has begun researching the use of body cameras on its officers. If the department implements this policy, it will join the likes of the Cincinnati Police Department in the use of body cameras.
By using these cameras, the police hope to be protected from false accusations. With the camera recording at all times, the video evidence would help corroborate, or disprove, the officers’ account of any given situation. Not only will this benefit the officer wearing the camera, but it will also protect the rights of the accused. Another added benefit is the fact that officers can now write police reports based on video evidence, rather than relying on memory alone.
The use of police body cameras will definitely play a major role inside the courtroom. A video log of the actual event will clearly show what occurred during an arrest, including the dialogue between the arresting officer, witnesses, and the suspect. Such footage is extremely important in the area of criminal defense. If a defendant’s rights were infringed upon, the body camera will depict such violation. We will now know for certain if a criminal defendant was not properly Mirandized as required by law.
The Bellevue Police are not the only ones who believe in the use of body cameras. This past December, President Obama called for about $260 million of federal spending that would allow an additional 50,000 officers in the country the opportunity to wear such cameras.
Recently, an officer with the Cincinnati Police Department was involved in a fatal altercation with a suspect. One of the officers involved was wearing the device. In this case, the entire altercation was caught on camera and any uproar or controversy surrounding the shooting was avoided because there was a clear record of what transpired.
While the benefit of wearing a camera cannot be denied, there are some possible scenarios where a camera may interfere with police work. Potential witnesses may be discouraged from talking to the police for fear that they are being recorded. There is also the possibility that the officer wearing the camera could turn the camera off during some altercations and avoid being recorded while doing something unethical or even illegal. In the event something like this were to occur, there would be little the accused could say or do to prove that the officer is being untruthful.
At Bleile & Dawson, our defense attorneys are extremely knowledgeable in criminal law and cases involving false accusations. If you feel that you have wrongly been accused of a crime and want the best chance of fighting your charges, hire a Cincinnati law firm that puts the client first and fights hard to protect their clients.