In the wake of several national events that have shed a somewhat unflattering spotlight on police officer’s actions in the field, Baltimore looks to be poised to become one of the next American cities to require its police force to wear body cameras. Baltimore City Council President Jack Young introduced a bill that would bring this change into effect during a Council meeting earlier in September. While on the job, cops would wear these cameras, which record both audio and video, while they carry out their daily duties. Will this bill gain the traction it needs to pass, and what will it mean for Baltimoreans citywide? Read on to find out more.
Body cameras have been implemented in police forces across the nation that have seen the need for reform within their ranks. It is the duty of police officers to stop and deter crime whenever possible, but recent events have shown that some cops can just as easily perpetrate it. Stories of shootings and police brutality have become far too commonplace- from Ferguson, Missouri to our own Baltimore backyards- and this kind of abuse of authority cannot be allowed to continue. Body cameras could be the solution we’ve been hoping for.
If required to wear body cameras while in the field, police officers will not be restricted from doing their jobs properly. Though there are those who claim that the body camera bill would amount to an invasion of privacy, the fact is that as someone selected to defend the public, a police officer’s actions while working should be a matter of public record. If a cop is carrying out his or her duties as they should be, then the recording the body camera makes will only serve to corroborate their version of events during an arrest or confrontation. If, however, they cross a line, participate in illegal action, or in any way act in a manner that goes against the expectations of the police department, the recording can become invaluable evidence.
Many who are protesting against the use of body cameras raise a valid point: not all cops fail to perform their jobs properly. This is true; a safe majority of police officers adhere to the letter of the law while in the field. But this cry for action does not come out of nowhere; there have been enough incidents involving the misconduct of a cop that something must be done to make sure that every officer’s behavior follows the stellar example set by the best in their ranks. If Baltimore does adopt body cameras in the near future, it will keep cops honest, citizens safe, and the city as a whole secure. Either way, it is only a matter of time until all police forces outfit their officers with this important safety equipment. Those that are not afraid of progress and have nothing to hide will embrace the technology with open arms. The rest will be dragged along kicking and screaming while the bad apples are ultimately flushed out of the ranks.
Bruce Robinson & Associates is a criminal defense law firm based in Baltimore, MD. If you have been accused of criminal act and need aggressive counsel, Robinson & Associates is here to help. For more information and to schedule your free consultation, give Robinson & Associates a call at 443-524-7395 or visit us at www.marylandcriminallawyer.com. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.