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Police Officers and Uniform Webcams

            If the figure of speech "a picture is worth a thousand words" were true, then a video would be worth a million. Imagine if there was a video recording of every altercation, incident, or crime scene involving cops and citizens. With the seemingly increase of police excessive use-of-force allegations, law enforcement agencies have to answer to the communities all over America who demand change. In Euharlee, Georgia, a policewoman by the name of Beth Gatny went to a family's home to serve an arrest warrant which led to the fatal shooting of seventeen year old Christopher Roupe. Gatny believed that the teenager was holding a gun when he answered the door, instead he was only holding a Nintendo Wii controller. She was not charged in the teen's death due to lack of sufficient evidence (Stevens). Perhaps, if Gatny was wearing a body-worn camera (body cam or BCW), the results would have been different or possibly would not have happened at all. In my opinion every police officer should be required to wear body-worn cameras and have their moves recorded on video when interacting with the public. One small piece of technology could change the face of policing in America.
             The use of body cams has already made promising changes in police departments who have adopted this new trend of policing. Particularly, in a small, southern California city, Rialto, police officers wore body cams and recorded their entire shifts. Derek Thompson, a senior editor for The Atlantic, pointed out the results from a study done in Rialto that were striking, "When researchers studied the effect of cameras on police behavior, the conclusions were striking. Within a year, the number of complaints filed against police officers in Rialto fell by eighty-eight percent and use of force fell by fifty-nine percent." If officers follow the guidelines and use BWC's properly, everyone can benefit. Jay Stanley, a policy analyst with ACLU, agrees and refers to body-worn cameras "a win/win for the public and the police" (qtd.

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