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Body-worn cameras are rather small. Thus, they can be comfortably attached to a shirt pocket, collar, hat, or even specially designed sunglasses. Nevertheless, they have generated large amounts of spirited discussion and debate recently. Incidents such as the police shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and the assassination of two uniformed officers sitting in their squad car in Brooklyn, New York, have led to calls from various quarters for greater use of body-worn cameras among police officers.
According to Security Management, last December, the Obama administration put some federal muscle behind body-camera advocacy when it proposed a three-year, $263-million multifaceted community policing initiative. The overall program is aimed at increasing the use of body-worn cameras, expanding training for law enforcement agencies, adding more resources for police department reform, and facilitating community engagement with local law enforcement.
More specifically, the initiative includes a Body-Worn Camera Partnership Program that would provide a 50 percent match in funding to states and localities that purchase body-worn cameras and related equipment.
According to White House projections, the proposed $75 million federal investment in the partnership program over three years could help purchase 50,000 body-worn cameras.
Citizens are taking videos of every encounter with the police. Should the policeman do the same? The question has been asked in the Israeli police where some squad cars have been equipped with cameras.
As a tool, body cameras have their own weaknesses, an expert explained to i-HLS. They will not pick up everything an officer sees; they do not operate as gyroscopes recording a 360-degree view of a scene. If an officer is chasing suspects on foot, the footage will be shaky and blurry. A blindside attack on an officer from the side or back would be outside the body camera’s field of vision.
Finally, there’s also the problem of cost – not just of the camera itself, but the expense of storing all the video. According to a specialist, Data management of is very expensive, especially if you have to maintain a chain of custody.