The Big Problem With Police Body Cameras

The move to equip police with on-body cameras skips some very important details. Among them: what happens when police don't hit record
Photographer: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The push to bring on-body cameras to every police department in the country is rapidly moving forward. On Tuesday, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department made a request for $7 million to purchase 1,400 of them. In December 2014, the Los Angeles Police Department announced it was purchasing 7,000. In jurisdictions all over the country, these devices are being requested, purchased with public money, and deployed. And there's not much pushback. The White House is behind them. A recent study posted via Marginal Revolution found that "the number of complaints filed against officers dropped from 0.7 complaints per 1,000 contacts to 0.07 per 1,000 contacts" when on-body cameras were used. Even lawyers with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)—who typically oppose government surveillance—have spoken out in favor. One recent ACLU report calls them "a win for all."

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