Why Should Mandatory Body Cameras Matter to You and to the Police Force?
Regardless of the situation, emotions often run high during interactions with the police. It is easy to become defensive when confronted by an officer. This may impact the type of response, tone of voice, and more, that you—and the officer—uses. However, it is important to try to keep your attitude in check, especially in Howard County, which now requires that all uniformed police officers wear a body camera while on duty. Yes, police have taken advantage of their power in certain circumstances, and it is hoped this initiative will help to curb those types of interactions. However, it also works to protect police officers from false accusations, improve accountability, and increase transparency.
With new rules in effect, it is now more important than ever to maintain your cool when being pulled over, or when interacting with police officers in other ways. These interactions will now be recorded and can be used in court to provide evidence to avoid a “he said, she said” situation. The officer’s cameras will activate automatically when an officer turns on emergency equipment in a patrol car, removes a firearm from its holster, or turns on a taser.
Are Body Cameras Effective at Reducing Complaints Against Officers?
Many studies have shown that body cameras can reduce the number of civil complaints against police officers. The camera’s presence seems to influence police behavior, even in the heat of a tricky interaction, leading to reduced negative reports. The increased number of cameras, given Howard County’s new policy, has driven a need for additional employees at the Maryland State Attorney’s Office to handle the higher amounts of footage that must be filed, reviewed, and redacted as needed.
This news will likely come as a comfort to those with concerns about the way police interact with people in their communities. When things escalate to an inappropriate response, it will be recorded. Lies and untruths will be caught, and it is hoped that people will begin to react differently as well, with less fear and worry over being pulled over by the police.
If you have been arrested or treated unfairly during a traffic stop or other interaction with a police officer and are facing charges, or if you feel an officer is lying about what occurred during the events, contact our office. Our skilled attorneys have the experience and know-how to show your side of the story fairly and get to the bottom of what really happened to ensure that you receive the justice you deserve.