Cameras on Law Enforcement weapons

"Sen. Eric Adams, a Brooklyn Democrat, is drumming up support for the cameras that would cost $695 each. He said New York would be the first to mandate the cameras.

The camera would follow the gun barrel’s movement and include a laser pointer and a light.

The camera and lights would start just over a second after a handgun is pulled from a holster. A police officer could turn off the lights, but the camera and optional audio recording would continue.

The New York City Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association had no immediate comment."

I think the police will not be in favor of this. On the surface it seems a good idea but it may not be. It would have to record sound as well to be the most useful in making a determination after the fact.

Why do you think it might not be a good idea?

I didn’t say I thought it was a bad idea. However, it might make an officer more reluctant to use deadly force when they should. Or, it might at least bring about a hesitation that could be detrimental.

I’m against it, as it will raise (by quite a bit) the cost of law enforcement in a given area.

It’s not just the cost of the camera. It’s the cost of processing the data, storing the data, and administrative cost on that data processing and storage.

We already have dash cams.

I am curious as to what the reasoning behind the need for this is.

The expense is another consideration to be sure. It’s certain though that dash cameras don’t catch all instances of a drawn firearm.

It’s obviously to a) exonerate the police officer for his actions, b) nail him to the wall for the least little transgression that he couldn’t have seen in the second or so he had to decide to shoot or not, or c) cover the police from lawsuits. Pick your favorite. I’m going with option b.

I don’t believe that police officers should be drawing their weapons willy-nilly, but I also don’t believe that they do so. Therefore, this will only be practical for when they think they have to draw their weapons, which in turn second-guesses their judgment or makes them hesitate, which leads to a dead police officer.

I’m not in favor of this at all.

By the way, did you happen to see the cameras? They’re huge. This will require new holsters, guns with rails (in other words, new guns), and retraining because the balance will be all shot to hell and the gun will be more difficult to bring into position. The cameras aren’t the only thing that’s expensive.

I doubt this. If you feel your life is threatened you’ve probably already forgotten about the camera in the squad car.

A link to the story that inspired this post would be helpful, but I can tell you that Taser already sells cameras to go along with its weapons. They’re optional, of course, but some police departments are buying them.

Looking at Doors’ post and the OP again it sounds more likely that he’s talking about those, which I wasn’t previously aware of.

As part of my grand jury assignment I conducted the quarterly inspection of the county jail. All of their Tasers had cameras mounted with solid state memory. They began recording when the weapon was drawn and kept recording until the shock was no longer being administered.

I don’t know how much they added to the cost, but they did not seem to affect the balance much, but the Taser was a good deal clunkier than I would have preferred in a sidearm from the get go. Probably it would have more of an effect in a less clumsy weapon. Tasers are also a lot more limited in range than a firearm as well.

I think it’s a terrible idea to add a bulky camera/light/laser unit to a weapon like a pistol. It isn’t a Taser where it’s already more bulky, has a 20ft range, and rarely causes death, it’s a pistol, longer range, deadly force, I’d like to keep that weapon as accurate as possible. Then the officer has to dork around with the thing, once he’s drawn his weapon, to make sure the light and laser are on/off based on the current tactical situation. Not what you want to have when the officer is considering the use of deadly force.

If you want a personal camera for the cop, integrate one into the holster. He draws his weapon, a microphone and wide angle lens are immediately activated to record the situation.

With the technology presented, bad idea. The gun will be very hard to use correctly. Plus, that camera will be yanked off all the time.

I don’t think it would make an officer hesitate one whit if he/she were in a true life-or-death situation (where the officer’s or someone else’s life is being immediately threatened). If it is clearly not a life-or-death situation (e.g. a burglar running away from police) then the officer might hesitate longer than he/she normally would. That could be a good thing.

I am not saying I am 100% for cameras on guns. It is an intriguing idea but I have to think about it some more. I am only commenting on one facet of the issue.

Better yet, mount it to a helmet and go that route. That will also allow for a camera with a larger field-of-view, and one that actually captures what the cop is looking at instead of what the gun is pointing at - which is usually the ground, frankly.

http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/dailypolitics/2008/05/eric-adams-demos-pistolcam.html

Another point against it. It will at least mildly encourage officers to point their weapons other than according to safety. You want that on the record, you have to point your weapon at it. Pointing a weapon at anything you don’t want to destroy is a violation of good weapon safety.

Bad idea.

Tris

Or it could be horribly, horribly bad.

Besides, what about situations where it is not absolutely clear whether the situation is life-threatening or not?

Bingo! A camera on a properly handled firearm will be pointing at low ready (i.e., the ground in front of the officer) until he has made the decision to fire. And due to the rapid movement of the weapon I doubt it would show anything clearly. It would also increase bulk and snag potential of the weapon, both of which are undesirable in a service arm. (The less said about flashlights and laser sights mounted to a service pistol the better; this type of thing needs to remain in the movies where it belongs.)

A camera mounted on the uniform shoulder would be more useful and less obtrusive.

Stranger

You’ve convinced me there are better alternatives.

then this technology might help create a clearer picture of what actually happened.

I find it hilarious that most law enforcement agents would be honkey dory with cameras posted in public spaces and used for red lights/etc, claiming that if you aren’t doing anything bad, it shouldn’t bother you, but when the lense is turned on them the story changes.

Or does it? We haven’t heard from law enforcement authorities yet, have we?

I don’t like the bulkiness though, can’t we make smaller cameras now a days?

This sound like a better idea. Say on the badge on the officer’s breast. It can be activated when a weapon is draw. It can even be hooked up to larger storage media on the belt via a small wire.

There’s an article here with a video showing the camera in action. It appears that the Newburgh, NY police department is interested in trying it out.

I didn’t see anything in this article suggesting that police were against it, but the problems brought up here weren’t mentioned either. It’s also worth noting that Eric Adams is a former police officer.