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Policing the police

December 30, 2013

I’ve heard several people suggest this idea but I hadn’t heard that it had been put into practice. This article appeared in The New York Times in late August. (My emphasis.)

RTWT. And advocate this for your local police forces.

In California, a Champion for Police Cameras

RIALTO, Calif. — “Get on the ground,” Sgt. Chris Hice instructed. The teenage suspects sat on the curb while Sergeant Hice handcuffed them.

“Cross your legs; don’t get up; put your legs back,” he said, before pointing to the tiny camera affixed to his Oakley sunglasses. “You’re being videotaped.”

It is a warning that is transforming many encounters between residents and police in this sunbaked Southern California city: “You’re being videotaped.”

Rialto has become the poster city for this high-tech measure intended to police the police since a federal judge last week applauded its officer camera program in the ruling that declared New York’s stop-and-frisk program unconstitutional. Rialto is one of the few places where the impact of the cameras has been studied systematically.

In the first year after the cameras were introduced here in February 2012, the number of complaints filed against officers fell by 88 percent compared with the previous 12 months. Use of force by officers fell by almost 60 percent over the same period. […]

William A. Farrar, the Rialto police chief, believes the cameras may offer more benefits than merely reduced complaints against his force: the department is now trying to determine whether having video evidence in court has also led to more convictions.

But even without additional data, Chief Farrar has invested in cameras for the whole force.

“When you put a camera on a police officer, they tend to behave a little better, follow the rules a little better,” Chief Farrar said. “And if a citizen knows the officer is wearing a camera, chances are the citizen will behave a little better.” […]

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One comment

  1. […] some follow-up on a post from last December about equipping police officers with body […]



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