Police-view cameras

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Police-view cameras

Postby portia » Mon Sep 01, 2014 8:56 am

I see more of the police departments are trying to put in cameras to record what the police see. I think it is a good idea. Many studies have shown how wildly inaccurate "eye-witness" reports are, and I never know quite what to believe. And that is aside from differing expectations and perceptions that can get between what the eye sees and what the brain records.
These cameras should make the police a little more thoughtful and witnesses more sure of what they saw.

If I were a police decision maker, I wold have camera purchase made a high priority.
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Re: Police-view cameras

Postby Cerin » Mon Sep 01, 2014 4:30 pm

I wonder how police officers feel about this. It does seem as though it would be a protective measure for everyone.
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Re: Police-view cameras

Postby Frelga » Mon Sep 01, 2014 8:33 pm

I need to dig up an article I read about a city that implemented the cameras. Apparently, implementing these cameras reduced complaints about police behavior by a lot, both because the officers felt an eye on them, and because the citizens could not make things up.

It does bring up a concern about the privacy of the citizens who are being recorded.
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Re: Police-view cameras

Postby Minardil » Tue Sep 02, 2014 6:06 am

It does bring up a concern about the privacy of the citizens who are being recorded.


At the risk of being accused of being some sort of supporter of "big brother statism", or some other such nonsense, I'm not sure that anyone can legitimately claim any presumption of privacy while they are out in public, on the street, in full view of anyone passing by. That's where these cameras go. I'm not necessarily a fan of these things, but I can see their where they might be useful. What would have happened in Ferguson if there'd been surveillance camera footage of the sad events from a few weeks back? Would the presence of such a camera changed the behavior of any of the participants so that the outcome would have been less . . . fatal. These are valid questions to ask.
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Re: Police-view cameras

Postby portia » Tue Sep 02, 2014 9:06 am

And, I think that the recorders would reduce the claims that phone cameras "do not show everything that went on." At east they would show what the police saw, which might not be everything, either, but if the police took action, we'd know why.
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Re: Police-view cameras

Postby Minardil » Tue Sep 02, 2014 10:34 am

I need to amend my remarks, I read the original post too quickly, I thought we were talking about stationary surveillance cameras mounted in public places. I see we were talking about chest cameras mounted ON policemen - and I presume dashboard cameras as well. THESE I support.
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Re: Police-view cameras

Postby Lee~ » Sat Sep 06, 2014 1:13 pm

Cerin wrote:I wonder how police officers feel about this. It does seem as though it would be a protective measure for everyone.


Seems to me the cameras should act as a deterrent to police abusing their power, and yet I have seen videos on dash cams where police officers have abused people, overstepped their authority, despite the cams.

I am not saying that they are not useful. People would have not had proof of how terrible abuse can be at the hands of police without them. But I don't know if they act as a deterrent, at least currently. Perhaps if more officers were held accountable for their actions with consequences that actually negatively effected their lives, the dashcams power over their behavior would increase and it wouldn't be a question at all. Really, shouldn't be anyway. Should be a given that dashcams would discourage police abuses.
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Re: Police-view cameras

Postby portia » Wed Nov 26, 2014 10:44 am

And discourage b----T complaints.
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Re: Police-view cameras

Postby Minardil » Thu Dec 04, 2014 7:07 am

portia wrote:And discourage b----T complaints.


Well, it might deter bovine fecal complaints, but it also acts as a deterrent to bad behavior on the part of police officers.

I think every department should have these, both to protect the officers against bogus complaints, and to remind officers that their actions are also under scrutiny. That said, I wonder how long such a "watched" effect would last? How long before the cameras just become something in the background, something that people just forget about, and behavior returns to the old status quo? Sure, at least we'll have documented evidence of what REALLY happened in any situation, so genuine claims of police misconduct will be supported and dishonest ones exposed and debunked, but will BEHAVIOR really change over the long run?
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Re: Police-view cameras

Postby portia » Sun Dec 07, 2014 9:46 am

Oh, I think it would change. Police behavior has changed radically from even 30-40 years ago. Cameras would restrain some people and punish others, and the results would be change.

I do not want to give this comment a racial cast, but there is a lot of feeling among some groups--especially groups where there are a lot of unemployed young men, who have a need to feel that they amount to something and cannot be simply ordered around. There is a tendency to refuse to follow anyone orders. The people they live with either adjust to that or throw the young men out. There is a temptation to defy even reasonably put orders. ("Nobody tells me what to do!")
Confrontation follows.

But if the police were to allow such behavior, the communities where it exists would be far worse off, as anarchy would reign. "Life style" infractions are undermining to a community's morale and encourage worse behavior.It is not unreasonable to try to enforce such rules. The minority communities need the police possibly more than the White community. Some understanding of what the police do and why, is necessary. And willingness to understand who it is that is preying on the community. It is not the police.
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Re: Police-view cameras

Postby Minardil » Thu Dec 11, 2014 1:31 pm

Is it also possible that the police target members of this theoretical community for special attention - attention that members of that community might consider to be "harassment"? And that this perception of harassment leads to resentment that feeds this "defiance" which you consider to be unfounded?

I'm just sayin', when a White Guy who owes a million bucks in back grazing fees tells the Law to go stick it, and invites several hundred of his heavily armed friends to come camp out and threaten armed revolution against the Government, conservatives fall all over themselves lionizing this dude as a Freedom Loving American Patriot Standing Up to State Oppression, but when a black dude refuses to immediately surrender to the police for selling untaxed cigarettes, these same conservatives bend over backwards to justify choking the man to death on the street.
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Re: Police-view cameras

Postby Lalaith-Elerrina » Sun Dec 14, 2014 7:08 am

It seems to me that chest cams and dash cams in police cars are good for everybody. Both for police and for the rest of the public. Remember when that man at a convenience store was stopped by an officer who told him to get his license, he complied by reaching back into the car for his wallet and the officer, possibly because of PTSD, I don't know, just went crazy and shot the guy, thinking he was going for a gun? Fortunately 1 the guy didn't die, and 2 the officer's dashcam caught the incident and showed that the guy wasn't in the wrong. He was TRYING to comply with the officer's request!
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Re: Police-view cameras

Postby MrsSmeagol » Sun Dec 14, 2014 5:02 pm

Last week there was a programme on TV here about the UK police now sometimes having these cameras, and how effective they are when they attend things such as domestic violence incidents. They showed some of the police's footage from attending a DV scene and the woman was so badly beaten up by her husband, her face was literally all one bruise, and still when they were in the house, the woman was insisting nothing had happened. When the police told the man they were taking him down the station for questioning he was ordering his wife about, telling her what to pack for him... All captured on film and later used in evidence. (No doubt he'd have denied it - didn't even see his behaviour as problematic).
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Re: Police-view cameras

Postby Lalaith-Elerrina » Mon Dec 15, 2014 9:44 pm

MrsSmeagol wrote:Last week there was a programme on TV here about the UK police now sometimes having these cameras, and how effective they are when they attend things such as domestic violence incidents. They showed some of the police's footage from attending a DV scene and the woman was so badly beaten up by her husband, her face was literally all one bruise, and still when they were in the house, the woman was insisting nothing had happened. When the police told the man they were taking him down the station for questioning he was ordering his wife about, telling her what to pack for him... All captured on film and later used in evidence. (No doubt he'd have denied it - didn't even see his behaviour as problematic).


That's awesome. If more of us could watch ourselves on camera, how many of us would realize uncomfortable but true things about ourselves? As far as that slimeball goes, I wouldn't be surprised if he would continue to deny he had a problem, and claim that his evil wife pushed him to beat her up and act that way. Bullies twist themselves into knots finding ways to excuse themselves and push the blame for their behavior on others.

Of course having the cameras made it more difficult to do so, which is the point.
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Re: Police-view cameras

Postby portia » Wed Dec 17, 2014 11:04 am

I have heard that having cameras rolling on DUI suspects and showing the suspects the film when they are sober, makes a lot of people plead guilty.

L.A. Is phasing these in pretty quickly. However, when a suspect, or his/her attorney. NEEDS an argument, nothing is off the table. We are certain to hear about all sorts of malfunctions, mishandling of the recording, etc. Some may even be true. All to challenge what the recording shows. People on whatever side of the controversy will refuse to believe the recording and will attack its truth. Sometimes they will be right.
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Re: Police-view cameras

Postby Lalaith-Elerrina » Wed Dec 17, 2014 3:17 pm

portia wrote:I have heard that having cameras rolling on DUI suspects and showing the suspects the film when they are sober, makes a lot of people plead guilty.

L.A. Is phasing these in pretty quickly. However, when a suspect, or his/her attorney. NEEDS an argument, nothing is off the table. We are certain to hear about all sorts of malfunctions, mishandling of the recording, etc. Some may even be true. All to challenge what the recording shows. People on whatever side of the controversy will refuse to believe the recording and will attack its truth. Sometimes they will be right.


I could see that happening. Or a situation where someone says something, and while it might have been clear in person it's garbled on the camera, and even with the camera it becomes another he said, she said thing.
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Re: Police-view cameras

Postby portia » Fri Dec 19, 2014 10:01 am

I have seen some camera results, recently and the pictures are pretty garbled. But, I hope, someone will be trained to figure out what is happening.

In the recent Mo. shooting, a gun was found, but I also heard a report that the mother of the supposed shooter denied that he had a gun.

We are going to be facing sensitive issues where the relatives or witnesses deny that there was a gun in the victim's possession, but there is a gun in evidence with the victim's fingerprints on it. No one wants to be calling people who've lost loved ones liars, but when the evidence (or recordings) make it clear that the witness reports are wrong, what does one say?
And what happens if some segment of public opinion sides with the statements that are provably wrong?

And it works the other way; what if there is no gun, but a bunch of the witnesses claim there was?

These questions are all part of my questions about what will remain even if we have cameras on all police officers.
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Re: Police-view cameras

Postby Lalaith-Elerrina » Sun Dec 28, 2014 6:43 am

One bit of advice I was given by a teacher in college when I was young, naïve and ridiculously trusting, assuming that everyone had some good in them: "Some people are liars."
Wouldn't it be nice if everyone just said it how it was? But alas.

I agree with you, Portia. Even with body cams, and dash cams, there will still be problems. But hopefully fewer.
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Re: Police-view cameras

Postby Jnyusa » Mon Dec 29, 2014 11:51 pm

Got to agree with Portia and Lalaith ... there's never going to be a perfect system.

The best our system can offer is to select juries that are unbiased and disinterested. Even then there are bloopers, but the worst that happens is still better than the worst that seems to happen under other systems.
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Re: Police-view cameras

Postby Lalaith-Elerrina » Tue Dec 30, 2014 6:30 am

Jnyusa wrote:The best our system can offer is to select juries that are unbiased and disinterested. Even then there are bloopers, but the worst that happens is still better than the worst that seems to happen under other systems.



If you've read To Kill A Mockingbird, you might be familiar with this part. I don't have a copy in front of me, so I'm not quoting Atticus Finch word for word, but during Tom Robinson's trial, Atticus said something along the lines of -I'm no idealist. I don't believe in a perfect court system, because it's run by people, and people aren't perfect. But it's the best we've got.- Something like that, but not in those exact words. Atticus Finch, while a fictional character, was created by Harper Lee, who had doubtless seen people be biased and stupid, so she knew that things would never be perfect. But like you said, Jnyusa, it's better than it could be.
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Re: Police-view cameras

Postby portia » Sun Jan 11, 2015 9:42 am

I saw a news report recently of an attack by a civilian with a shovel on a policeman. The police camera showed who started it--the civilian-- and what he did before he was responded to. Without the camera, this would have been called a shooting (?) of an "unarmed" civilian. I think we will wonder why cameras were not deployed sooner.
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Re: Police-view cameras

Postby hamlet » Tue Jan 13, 2015 8:10 am

Because, Portia, the cameras come with a whole raft of questions that are not easy to answer. Not to mention that video/photos are not really unbiased. We all know that from history.

Another issue that somebody pointed out at one point is that of privacy. Both of the officer and every other person within view of the lens. Who gets to determine whether or not uninvolved passerby can be filmed and have their image and actions stored for any length of time? Personally, I don't ever want a camera pointed at me regardless of what I am or am not doing. There have to be some very strict rules about what can and cannot be filmed, when the camera gets turned on and when it must be turned off. With these cameras in "always on" mode, there's no such thing as speaking to a police officer off the record, which is something that is actually quite desireable.

Who has access to the recordings?

What sort of electronic and/or physical safeguards and security measures will be employed to protect them from theft and tampering? Or are they public record?

What are the rules governing their adissability as evidence in a court? Such rules are quite meticulous and I do believe that there is precedence for body worn surveilance (both covert and overt) that would have a bearing on it, but aren't specific to these cameras.

It's not just a matter of "it would be so much better if we could just have an unbiased film of what happened!" really. There's actually a lot to sort out in general before wide implementation is reasonable.

Not to mention who gets to pay for them. Such cameras and their infrastructure aren't really that cheap.
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Re: Police-view cameras

Postby portia » Tue Jan 13, 2015 10:07 am

As I have said before, anything one does in public is "public" and there is no right of privacy. So, those issues do not arise for me.

If you do not want a camera pointed at you, when you are in a public place, you are simply SOL, and can just live with the disappointment.
If you need to speak to the police about something you do not want publicized, there are many options.

Certainly cameras can be tricked or manipulated, but not so easily as eyewitness testimony.
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Re: Police-view cameras

Postby hamlet » Tue Jan 13, 2015 11:00 am

And when you are uncontested Grand High Pubah of the world, you can certainly make these determinations. In the meantime, such issues have not actually been settled and remain entirely valid.

While I would certainly agree with you that what you do in public is a matter of public record, not everyone, and not even a majority in some cases, agree.
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Re: Police-view cameras

Postby Minardil » Tue Jan 13, 2015 11:39 am

hamlet wrote:And when you are uncontested Grand High Pubah of the world, you can certainly make these determinations. In the meantime, such issues have not actually been settled and remain entirely valid.

While I would certainly agree with you that what you do in public is a matter of public record, not everyone, and not even a majority in some cases, agree.


I believe the general legal understanding is that individuals have no reasonable expectation of privacy while out in public places, nor do they have reasonable expectation of privacy when third parties are present. So, while I personally make to NO claim to being Grand High Poobah of anyplace other than the mostly submerged Island Nation of Minardillia (where Happy Hour starts promptly at 4:00 PM and runs ALL DAY!!), I think it's fair to say that the wearing of police body cameras does not violate that legal definition of the expectation of privacy.
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Re: Police-view cameras

Postby hamlet » Tue Jan 13, 2015 1:13 pm

And I agree. I'm just putting it up as a devil's argument. There are people who argue about CCTV cameras even now in stores. These are a new thing and I can see the arguments now about police surveilance without warrants (as silly as they might be they still need to get addressed publicly) and so on.

All I'm saying is that the questions have to be answered publicly up front before these things go mainstream, otherwise you risk turning a confrontational relationship even more confrontational.
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Re: Police-view cameras

Postby Minardil » Wed Jan 14, 2015 7:50 am

But I think these questions have been answered, and the answer is: Neither the police nor the citizenry have any reasonable expectation of privacy when they are out in public. There have already been court cases that have decided these issues. I agree that some people may not agree and argue against it, but from a legal standpoint the question has been addressed.

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Re: Police-view cameras

Postby portia » Wed Jan 14, 2015 8:56 am

hamlet wrote:And when you are uncontested Grand High Pubah of the world, you can certainly make these determinations. In the meantime, such issues have not actually been settled and remain entirely valid.

.

That is simply not true. Some people wish it were true and would keep raising the issue forever, regardless of any and all court determinations. But. aside from moving to Never-never land, it is not true. There may be some room for discussion on how long the pictures/video are kept if they do not involve the actual subject, but that would be an uphill fight, decided more by public relations than the law.
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Re: Police-view cameras

Postby portia » Tue Mar 03, 2015 12:43 pm

I can't help wondering how long there will be demonstrations about police shootings when it can be proved which ones were justified and which were not.

If a suspect makes a real try to take an officer's gun, will we agree that some sort of shooting was necessary, or will we say "Well, shoot him in the knee" or something.

Some shootings are necessary, and make me think that the person who was shot had "Suicide by Cop" on the mind.

Demonstrations when the shooting was not justified are fine and necessary. Having a demonstration MERELY because there was a shooting, without regard to whether it was justified, mere undermines the credibility of the demonstrators.

AND, there hasn't been much of a discussion about the rights of people who might be pictured in a video, but who are not the "target'. If what they were doing was done in public, there is no privacy right--no matter how loudly they complain, but they WILL complain and some misguided person may decide to allow some odd theory to go through the court.
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Re: Police-view cameras

Postby portia » Thu Apr 16, 2015 3:23 pm

I am interested in the recent injury to a shooter, when he was hit by a police car--on purpose.
What about a chase situation, where the police injure someone who has been leading a chase?

There is no doubt that it was unusual. But is that the same as excessive?
The injured man had been threatening others, and had shot off one bullet. He was heading toward a more used area. He was not killed.
Was what happened to him different in kind from a shooting by the police? Are we allowing the different weapon to obscure the issue?
Is hitting him with a car a different form of public defense from a gun?
Was the fact that the shooter had a long gun, that might have been a danger to police had they tried to get close enough to shoot accurately, a factor; was the use of a car unexpected, and so safer for the police?

There are a lot of questions, involved in this incident. It is not cut and dried.
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