The Instigator
civiero
Pro (for)
The Contender
Bman630
Con (against)

Police officers should be legally required to wear body cameras while on duty

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Debate Round Forfeited
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/30/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 months ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 453 times Debate No: 95761
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (0)

 

civiero

Pro

I will argue that police officers should be legally required to wear body cameras while on duty. Since purchasing body cameras for law enforcement agencies would be a public expense, I will accept the burden of proof in this debate. Sources can and should be posted in text after the arguments they are being used to support.

-Power and authority should be accompanied by accountability. This is something that Sir Robert Peel recognized in his principles of policing which were developed to guide the first professional police force. One example: "The ability of the police to perform their duties is dependent upon public approval of police actions."

Body cameras an oversight tool which can be used to better hold officers accountable and maintain public trust.

(Source: http://www.nwpolice.org...)

-Body cameras have the two-pronged effect of encouraging police officers to act professionally and also defusing situations with subjects (who are less inclined to behave in discrediting ways when they know they are being filmed). In pilot projects where body cameras worn by police officers have been implemented and studied, complaints against officers have dropped over 90%.

(Source: http://cjb.sagepub.com...)

-Further expanding on the point of cameras being a tool to defuse situations, they will improve officer safety as subjects will be aware that their actions will be recorded on camera and those recordings could be used as evidence against them.

-While cost is sometimes cited as an argument against the implementation of police body cameras, lawsuits against police agencies for misconduct can be extremely expensive for the agencies and the government bodies that oversee them. Body cameras can capture evidence that can discredit false complaints against officers and can prevent frivolous lawsuits from succeeding or forcing governments to provide unnecessary settlements.

-Individual officers themselves are protected from false accusations in the form of complaints or lawsuits if they behave professionally and appropriately and their conduct is captured through body cameras.

I'm looking forward to further debating this with anyone willing to argue the contrary position.
Bman630

Con

Now to be honest I actually agree but I am board so why not, I think that body cameras might be extreme. Now we should make sure they are not betting people because of race but what if it slows them down when they are actually taking on a criminal? It could have fatal consequences. and i do think that all city's could just install cameras in their car and if they break it they could amuse things.
Debate Round No. 1
civiero

Pro

First off, many thanks for accepting this debate and being willing to play devil's advocate. Also, I'd like to apologize for the lack of formal rules and structure to this debate (I am new to the site and this is the first debate I posted); we'll have to freestyle this.

Now then, addressing your points in order:

--- "Now we should make sure they are not betting people because of race"

I'm sorry, I don't entirely understand what you mean by this (I'm assuming that "betting" is a typo there). But I'm going to infer that you mean to bring up racial profiling here.

I would actually counter that body cameras can serve to reduce racial profiling in that they can be used to show that officers had probable cause in their interactions with subjects (including minorities). It makes it more difficult, if not next to impossible, to fabricate evidence or charges.

--- "what if it slows them down when they are actually taking on a criminal? It could have fatal consequences."

With respect, I don't see how it would.

During a physical altercation it is certainly possible that a camera could be knocked off. It happens in this body camera footage for example:

https://www.youtube.com...

But officer safety takes precedence over protecting equipment so I don't see how wearing a body camera could put officers any more at risk. Keep in mind they already wear a lot of equipment on their person. Anecdotally, I was an LEO who wore a mic (but not a body camera) at all times on shift, I never once felt it posed an officer safety threat and I'm struggling to imagine how it could. I'm open to further argument on this point if you could elaborate.

--- "i do think that all city's could just install cameras in their car and if they break it they could amuse things."

Again, I'm sorry but I don't understand the last half of this sentence. I will, however, address the first half:

Dashcams are already standard in police cars but they have several disadvantages compared to body cameras.

For example, they have a static position. Body cameras are dynamic and move along with the officer's POV. This is an instant process and they do not need to be adjusted. By contrast, with a dashcam at best you can orient it to face a specific area you believe will be most relevant to capture footage, but that both requires foresight to do (which is difficult in the heat of a high stress situation) and will not follow the officer and/or subject if they move out of the line of sight where the camera is oriented.
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Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by civiero 8 months ago
civiero
Thanks! Hoping to find a challenger.
Posted by Khons 8 months ago
Khons
Yes, this will be very interesting to watch. Good luck!
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