Persuasive Essay On Body Worn Cameras

1149 Words5 Pages
Due to recent cases of police brutality in America, activists are urging police departments across the country to start using body worn cameras, or BWCs. BWCs are devices that can be worn by police officers to collect video evidence while they are at work. There are numerous studies proving the effectiveness of these devices, but many critics claim that they risk the citizens’ privacy by opening the possibility of tapes being released without their consent. Although many activists claim that there are already strict standards set for the release of BWC tapes, some worry that the current standards are insufficient for securely protecting the privacy of citizens. The 25% of police agencies in America that use body worn cameras must follow set…show more content…
This can be done in order to embarrass, slander, blackmail, or otherwise hurt said subject(s). One could also use this policy to hurt others unintentionally. For instance, if an altercation arose between two subjects and the responding officer wore a BWC, one subject could copy and spread the tape around without the knowledge or consent of the other subject, hurting them in the process. As one Albuquerque policeman explained, “Here in Albuquerque, everything is open to public record unless it is part of an ongoing investigation. So if police come into your house and it is captured on video, and if the video isn’t being used in an investigation, your neighbor can request the footage under the open records act and we have to give it to them”. This policy also contributes to the massive financial problem with…show more content…
Redacting and censoring videos is likely one of the biggest drawbacks of BWC use. According to Taser’s Law Enforcement Technology Report, “Since body cameras may record such sensitive information, many agencies face time-consuming public records requests. Using current editing software, Washington D.C. Metropolitan police estimate that redacting footage from their pilot body-worn video program could take over 1 million hours – or almost 150 years – of work.” Using conventional video editing tools, it takes about an hour to redact one second of video. According to the article Utility Issues Video Redaction Challenge to the San Francisco Police Department, “1,800 SFPD (San Francisco Police Department) officers each recording an average of 400 hours of video per year will total 720,000 hours of video per year. Redacting even 1% of that video at one hour per minute (60 times more productive than the estimated effort listed in the Taser report) would take 432,000 hours of effort. At $20 per hour, manually redacting 7,200 hours of video could cost $8.6M per year.” However, this problem may eventually cease to exist, as Utility Inc. is soon releasing a software called Smart Redaction, which promises to redact BWC footage quickly and cheaply. As of now, though, the cost of redaction is a cause for complaints for

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