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#4525724 - 09/25/17 12:15 PM LEOs and BWCs
dnewton3 Offline



Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 7389
Loc: Indianapolis, IN
First and foremost, let's stay out of the political discussion here.
If you cannot do so, please do not comment and post.
I am looking to engage discussion ONLY from a legal perspective.
Disclaimer - I'm pro cop, so just keep that in mind.
And so I begin ...


Many agencies today are implementing body worn cameras (BWCs) for police officers. Whereas the first matter of concern for any agency is to protect itself and assist in prosecution, there does exist a benefit to the individual officer who may well be exonerated in court (not public opinion, but legal or civil proceedings) via the data such recordings provide. Not all officers embrace BWCs, but those who do have little to fear because they are the least likely to do anything wrong and more likely to be proven right. I'm not saying that officers who do not embrace the technology are bad cops; that's not my point at all. I'm saying that those who do wish to use the systems are likely to be vindicated, should an issue arise to scrutiny.

Also, just like with all things in life, we must agree that BWCS are tools, and no tool is perfect. They are great at some things, but they will never solve all issues. However, they are very good in many situations. Just like a hammer is a poor tool to install a light bulb, it's still one heck of a linear driver. So goes the BWCs. They have challenges and advantages; they have benefits and limitations. But they are far more helpful than hurtful in most situations, and can seriously reduce (often eliminate) legal proceedings due to perception bias, and outright fraudulent claims, on both sides of the equation.

I see this as a matter of "rights". (Being careful to tiptoe around politics and stick to statutes and case law) ...
Multiple recent state and federal (even SCOTUS) civil case law decisions have indicated that the 1st Amendment recognizes the individual's right to record their own interactions with police, and also allow 3rd party recordings of interactions with police in public. Further, there's been no successful challenge to any agency that uses recordings in public domain for prosecution efforts, that I'm aware of. IOW - the government can record what happens in public and the public can record the government in public. But until now, there's not be much discussion about how an officer can record himself (and others) in public, specifically for his own legal defense.

Here's the conundrum ...
What happens in these situations?
1) the agency does not offer BWCs, leaving the officer without said tool
2) the agency offers BWCs to some personnel but not all, and prohibits the use of BWCs not issued, thereby leaving some officers without said tool

- In situation 1, the agency simply either has chosen not to utilize the BWC as a tool, or cannot afford such systems. Because they don't have a BWC system, they are also unlikely to have a BWC policy. So if the agency is not providing a BWC system and storage, should the officer be allowed to utilize his own system?
- In situation 2, the agency offers a system for some officers, but does not offer it to all officers. As such, because they do have a system and policy in place, and that policy prohibits officers without systems from using their own.



In either situation, how do you feel about such constraints?
Would you support taxes for your locality to purchase a reasonable BWC system available to all officers?
Or, at a very minimum, not prohibit officers from purchasing and utilizing their own system?
Would you support legislation in your state that specifically allows officers to utilize their own systems if not provided by their agency?
_________________________
The act of preventative maintenance, in and of itself, is FAR MORE important than brand/grade/base choices among lubes and filters.
- under maintaining something is akin to abuse/neglect; that can kill equipment by shortening the lifespan
- over maintaining something has never been proven to be anything but a waste of time and money

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#4525742 - 09/25/17 12:32 PM Re: LEOs and BWCs [Re: dnewton3]
SirTanon Online   content


Registered: 06/23/14
Posts: 2137
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona - USA
I am a strong proponent of BWCs for all officers. They provide both accountability and protection for the officers.

As such, I think that funding for these BWCs is extremely important, and I support taxes and/or other proactive funding methods to make sure they are provided to all officers.

The less doubt/uncertainty involved in any police interaction, the better off everyone is, IMHO.
_________________________
2010 Ford Fusion SE - 2.5 liter/6F35 Trans - 256,000mi
2014 Nissan Altima SL - 2.5 liter/CVT - 54,500mi

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#4525753 - 09/25/17 12:42 PM Re: LEOs and BWCs [Re: dnewton3]
Reddy45 Offline


Registered: 08/15/08
Posts: 2962
Loc: USA
popcorn2

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#4525773 - 09/25/17 01:07 PM Re: LEOs and BWCs [Re: dnewton3]
Win Offline


Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 4446
Loc: Arkansas
I wouldn't support new taxes for such a thing - I've seen our police use a SWAT team for food stamp violations, so, I feel they are adequately funded, possibly over funded. They could sell the armored personnel carrier to pay for them, if they got in a financial pinch.

I think they are a good idea in principle, but I question whether or not prosecutors would have the spine to actually do something if some significant ( as opposed to insignificant ) police misconduct was captured. They don't have a good record in this regard, imo.

It might help arrestees from having false statements attributed to them, provided they have the sense to keep their own mouth shut - I'm not real optimistic about the latter ....
_________________________
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08 G8 3.6 V6 Fram 5/30
04 Xj8 4.2 V8 Hav 5/40
99 S-10 2.2 I4 RECOVERED
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#4525777 - 09/25/17 01:10 PM Re: LEOs and BWCs [Re: dnewton3]
zorobabel Offline


Registered: 01/27/11
Posts: 477
Loc: Anaheim, CA
In the case of LEO bringing their own BWC, I can see them being used only for LEO protection and if a LEO would be in the wrong, he could claim the BWC was not recording at the time. That being said he should have that right if the agency does not provide BWC. At the same time the public interacting with LEO should also have the right to record and not be given grief about it, as I've seen in some videos.
I don't support any new taxes as a matter of principle.


Edited by zorobabel (09/25/17 01:11 PM)
_________________________
1997 Maxima 175k, Delvac 15w40, Wix 51315
2004 Corolla 189k, VWB 5w20 + SSS 10w40, MGL4967

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#4525796 - 09/25/17 01:28 PM Re: LEOs and BWCs [Re: Reddy45]
Al Offline


Registered: 06/08/02
Posts: 18033
Loc: Elizabethtown, Pa
Originally Posted By: Reddy45
popcorn2

Yep..A dozen more posts..max.
_________________________

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#4525801 - 09/25/17 01:41 PM Re: LEOs and BWCs [Re: dnewton3]
PandaBear Offline


Registered: 08/05/02
Posts: 14206
Loc: Silicon Valley
I'm all for more "non selectively applied data". If BWC is on as soon as the cop is on duty and he cannot mess with it during or after any incident, and open it for both side of a court case, I'm all for it. Now if it is intentionally turned off or erased because it is not saying what the cop wants to say, then I'm not for it. This is also why I do not want the cop to provide his own BWC instead of using a standard one issued by the PD.

Citizen reporter will be doing selective reporting, that's unfortunate, but they do not have police or prosecution power, and it is usually less of a "your word against theirs", so I'm less worried about it.

Having street cam on every single street corner so everything is recorded all the time would make the world a better place, IMO.


Edited by PandaBear (09/25/17 01:41 PM)
_________________________
"You keep asking questions PandaBear and you'll end up a vegetarian like my wife" - Camu Mahubah

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#4525883 - 09/25/17 02:59 PM Re: LEOs and BWCs [Re: dnewton3]
Brybo86 Offline


Registered: 10/08/11
Posts: 2947
Loc: Chicago, IL
I am OK with the BWC.

If the police force provides them great.
I think it would be a definitive answer to all the he said she said issues we currently have.

If provided they should be on 100% of the time. And be used in cases both for and against a cop.

If the police does not want to provide them I believe the LEO should be able to wear one and use it as he sees fit.

How is bringing your own and not Turning it on in an altercation any different than not having one in the first place?

I think the best policy is that if you have one it needs to be on all the time.

If they are not force provided who controls recorded data?
_________________________
08 Honda Accord EX-L 2.4L M1 EP 0w20 145k
01 Kymco People 50
95 Lexus LS400 M1 AFE 0w30 193k
95 Yamaha Jog

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#4525900 - 09/25/17 03:13 PM Re: LEOs and BWCs [Re: dnewton3]
JohnnyJohnson Offline


Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 2731
Loc: Wet side WA
Love those BCW's the bad guys thought it was giving them the edge. In almost every case it has become their down fall when the get to court.
_________________________
2004 Toyota Corolla 121525
Out: QSUD 5W-30 Purolator One 5030
In: Valvoline ML 5w-30 TG4967 117530 2-8-18
2006 Duramax 74016
Out: T6 5W-40 M1-303
In: T6 5W-40 XG9100 73752 4-22-18

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#4525906 - 09/25/17 03:20 PM Re: LEOs and BWCs [Re: dnewton3]
bubbatime Offline


Registered: 03/18/08
Posts: 5619
Loc: South Florida
Former cop here. I wish we had cameras.

Car cameras, and body cameras, are expensive. The data storage, servers, and storage of that much data, from hundreds or thousands of officers, for years and years until it is safe to purge, comes at ENORMOUS cost. Its very hard to budget this kind of elective stuff, especially considering in my area, wages have been stagnant for at least 10 years, and in my case, we actually got a 3 percent pay cut. IF any money is found, a sympathetic Sheriff or police chief would want to get his officers a 2-3% raise before spending millions on a camera system. Since many of them haven't had a raise in 10 years.

As to personally purchased cameras, I have no problem with it. If the police agency cant afford to buy one, and an officer is willing to buy one out of pocket, then that is a win-win for the community. If I was back on patrol I would absolutely install a dash cam and a body camera, in this day and age. Doesn't have to be expensive, as even a cheaper camera is better than nothing.

I really would like to see a federal grant system in place so that cash strapped departments could purchase cameras. The vast majority of departments want cameras, but the funds just are not there.

Citizens dont understand budgetary issues facing law enforcement. Case in point? Post above about a SWAT truck raiding a food stamp violation, so therefor they must have enough money and not need any more. Many "SWAT" trucks are free to local agencies. A bearcat purpose built SWAT truck cost $800K and you will only find them in use by the large cities. Medium size cities and town are using free borrowed MRAP trucks from the feds. And you dont sell a Bearcat, if you own one, to purchase cameras. That would be pretty stupid.

Originally Posted By: Win
I think they are a good idea in principle, but I question whether or not prosecutors would have the spine to actually do something if some significant ( as opposed to insignificant ) police misconduct was captured. They don't have a good record in this regard, imo.


This couldn't be further from the truth if you tried. When there is indisputable evidence of wrongdoing you will find that cops are prosecuted and punished. Not sure where you are getting your info. And I'm talking about REAL wrong doing, not fake news wrongdoing, such as the Michael Brown case.
_________________________
17 Chrysler Pacifica Mobil 1 5W30
13 Yamaha XT250 Valv MC 10W40
12 Suzuki S40 Rotella 15W40
10 Acura TSX 2.4 PZL Plat 5W30
06 GMC Sierra Nextgen 10W30



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#4525913 - 09/25/17 03:30 PM Re: LEOs and BWCs [Re: bubbatime]
Win Offline


Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 4446
Loc: Arkansas
Originally Posted By: bubbatime
.... Not sure where you are getting your info. ....


Three plus decades of practicing law.
_________________________
09 Torrent 3.6 V6 M1 0/40
09 Solstice 2.4 I4 Fram 5/30
08 G8 3.6 V6 Fram 5/30
04 Xj8 4.2 V8 Hav 5/40
99 S-10 2.2 I4 RECOVERED
94 Xj12 6.0 V12

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#4525936 - 09/25/17 03:51 PM Re: LEOs and BWCs [Re: dnewton3]
HerrStig Offline


Registered: 08/24/11
Posts: 9560
Loc: Boston, MA
Originally Posted By: dnewton3
First and foremost, let's stay out of the political discussion here.
If you cannot do so, please do not comment and post.
I am looking to engage discussion ONLY from a legal perspective.
Disclaimer - I'm pro cop, so just keep that in mind.
And so I begin ...


Many agencies today are implementing body worn cameras (BWCs) for police officers. Whereas the first matter of concern for any agency is to protect itself and assist in prosecution, there does exist a benefit to the individual officer who may well be exonerated in court (not public opinion, but legal or civil proceedings) via the data such recordings provide. Not all officers embrace BWCs, but those who do have little to fear because they are the least likely to do anything wrong and more likely to be proven right. I'm not saying that officers who do not embrace the technology are bad cops; that's not my point at all. I'm saying that those who do wish to use the systems are likely to be vindicated, should an issue arise to scrutiny.

Also, just like with all things in life, we must agree that BWCS are tools, and no tool is perfect. They are great at some things, but they will never solve all issues. However, they are very good in many situations. Just like a hammer is a poor tool to install a light bulb, it's still one heck of a linear driver. So goes the BWCs. They have challenges and advantages; they have benefits and limitations. But they are far more helpful than hurtful in most situations, and can seriously reduce (often eliminate) legal proceedings due to perception bias, and outright fraudulent claims, on both sides of the equation.

I see this as a matter of "rights". (Being careful to tiptoe around politics and stick to statutes and case law) ...
Multiple recent state and federal (even SCOTUS) civil case law decisions have indicated that the 1st Amendment recognizes the individual's right to record their own interactions with police, and also allow 3rd party recordings of interactions with police in public. Further, there's been no successful challenge to any agency that uses recordings in public domain for prosecution efforts, that I'm aware of. IOW - the government can record what happens in public and the public can record the government in public. But until now, there's not be much discussion about how an officer can record himself (and others) in public, specifically for his own legal defense.

Here's the conundrum ...
What happens in these situations?
1) the agency does not offer BWCs, leaving the officer without said tool
2) the agency offers BWCs to some personnel but not all, and prohibits the use of BWCs not issued, thereby leaving some officers without said tool

- In situation 1, the agency simply either has chosen not to utilize the BWC as a tool, or cannot afford such systems. Because they don't have a BWC system, they are also unlikely to have a BWC policy. So if the agency is not providing a BWC system and storage, should the officer be allowed to utilize his own system?
- In situation 2, the agency offers a system for some officers, but does not offer it to all officers. As such, because they do have a system and policy in place, and that policy prohibits officers without systems from using their own.



In either situation, how do you feel about such constraints?
Would you support taxes for your locality to purchase a reasonable BWC system available to all officers?
Or, at a very minimum, not prohibit officers from purchasing and utilizing their own system?
Would you support legislation in your state that specifically allows officers to utilize their own systems if not provided by their agency?

This is an oil site, not Lexis Nexis.

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#4525991 - 09/25/17 05:11 PM Re: LEOs and BWCs [Re: bubbatime]
ArcticDriver Offline


Registered: 01/27/17
Posts: 1139
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: bubbatime
Former cop here. I wish we had cameras.

Car cameras, and body cameras, are expensive. The data storage, servers, and storage of that much data, from hundreds or thousands of officers, for years and years until it is safe to purge, comes at ENORMOUS cost. Its very hard to budget this kind of elective stuff, especially considering in my area, wages have been stagnant for at least 10 years, and in my case, we actually got a 3 percent pay cut. IF any money is found, a sympathetic Sheriff or police chief would want to get his officers a 2-3% raise before spending millions on a camera system. Since many of them haven't had a raise in 10 years.

As to personally purchased cameras, I have no problem with it. If the police agency cant afford to buy one, and an officer is willing to buy one out of pocket, then that is a win-win for the community. If I was back on patrol I would absolutely install a dash cam and a body camera, in this day and age. Doesn't have to be expensive, as even a cheaper camera is better than nothing.

I really would like to see a federal grant system in place so that cash strapped departments could purchase cameras. The vast majority of departments want cameras, but the funds just are not there.

Citizens dont understand budgetary issues facing law enforcement. Case in point? Post above about a SWAT truck raiding a food stamp violation, so therefor they must have enough money and not need any more. Many "SWAT" trucks are free to local agencies. A bearcat purpose built SWAT truck cost $800K and you will only find them in use by the large cities. Medium size cities and town are using free borrowed MRAP trucks from the feds. And you dont sell a Bearcat, if you own one, to purchase cameras. That would be pretty stupid.

Originally Posted By: Win
I think they are a good idea in principle, but I question whether or not prosecutors would have the spine to actually do something if some significant ( as opposed to insignificant ) police misconduct was captured. They don't have a good record in this regard, imo.


This couldn't be further from the truth if you tried. When there is indisputable evidence of wrongdoing you will find that cops are prosecuted and punished. Not sure where you are getting your info. And I'm talking about REAL wrong doing, not fake news wrongdoing, such as the Michael Brown case.


Solid on all counts.
_________________________
Multiple Diesel and Gasoline vehicles

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#4526060 - 09/25/17 06:12 PM Re: LEOs and BWCs [Re: dnewton3]
CT8 Online   content


Registered: 10/09/14
Posts: 10922
Loc: Idaho
I had to provide my own tools for my job. I attended Classes on my own time and expense to stay up with the new tech. . The cops can if they want one bad enough provide their own. Like buying a high quality M/C helmet to protect your noggin. Call it insurance. That said I am pro cop and pretty much honer these brave people for what they do day in and day out. Usually facing ugly all of the time.
_________________________
"Don't let your preconceived notions get in the way of facts."Geoff Metcalf"

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#4526082 - 09/25/17 06:36 PM Re: LEOs and BWCs [Re: CT8]
ArcticDriver Offline


Registered: 01/27/17
Posts: 1139
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: CT8
I had to provide my own tools for my job. I attended Classes on my own time and expense to stay up with the new tech. . The cops can if they want one bad enough provide their own. Like buying a high quality M/C helmet to protect your noggin. Call it insurance. That said I am pro cop and pretty much honer these brave people for what they do day in and day out. Usually facing ugly all of the time.


Many employers provide uniforms, PPE, tools and training.

Since the City or Municipality can avoid costly litigation and cut down on manhours spent Investigating frivolous accusations and lawsuits as well as possibly de-escalate the potential of mob violence fueled by unsubstantiated claims against officers I personally think the money spent on the implementation of Department Policies/Guidelines and supplying the BWCs is wise use of tax dollars. Additionally, a Department issued BWC insures conformity In the devices and compatible software, etc..

Several posts have suggested the BWCs should be on and recording at all times. My opinion is that they should only be activated when the officer is responding and not while the officer is having personal conversations with fellow employees absent a LEO/Public interface.
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