There are an estimated 780,000 police officers in the United States (at least according to 2012 estimates). By 2022, the number of police officers is expected to increase by more than 40,000. Police officers perform an urgent, dangerous, and thankless service for the public. Police officers and law enforcement officials around the country deserve the very best in training, equipment, and support.
Sadly, recent stories making national headlines have strained relations between police officers and the communities they serve. Cases of “police brutality” have outraged millions across the country and as a result police departments are under scrutiny like never before. Many police departments such as Baltimore and Houston have already responded to the criticism in part by introducing body cameras (or “body cams”) to their officers for wear. Though many programs are still in their trial phase, body cams (like their predecessor, the dash cams) are proving to be popular with police officers and the public alike.
What are the benefits? Police departments have already been using in vehicle dash cameras for decades. Those cameras provide police officers with valuable records of incidences while on duty. Police departments typically use footage from dash cams as part of their training programs. By reviewing the actions of police officers while on duty, police trainees learn about proper procedure and tactics. They learn what to do in certain situations and, moreover, what not to do. The footage also provides direct evidence for trials and investigations, including those involved in police conduct.
Dash and body cams are also useful for public relations. In order to mend the tension between the police and the public, police departments are considering the use of body cams in addition to dash cams for officers on duty. The solution is not a whole one but it is a step in the right direction, as many departments are finding out.