Police cameras increase public distrust

Police body camera

Courtesy of Marcus Yam, Los Angeles Times. The Los Angeles Police Department is now giving video cameras to officers and will require all time spent on the clock to be recorded.

As public distrust of police continues to increase on a national level, recent reports show that Los Angeles citizens are questioning the police department’s decision to withhold video recordings from public viewing.

The Los Angeles Times recently reported that 7,000 cameras will bring transparency to cop encounters, protect the county from officer misconduct and bring clarity to negative police reputations.

Courtesy of Ricardo Dearatanha, Los Angeles Times. Resident speaks out at a community meeting defending residents’ rights to have the same access to information that the police department now has with the newly implemented cameras.

Police officers have taken the complaints seriously, but argue that residents are not fully understanding the transparency of their decision. Charlie Beck, chief of the LAPD, explains how the department will not disclose footage unless it is required for a criminal or civil court.

Distributing all recordings publicly reveals private information that in many situations needs to be kept intimate such as issues involving children. The LAPD explains how tapes will be constantly reviewed by officials from the police commission, inspector general and the district and city attorney offices.

Police departments are not required to be unified in their daily operations and other divisions are in different stages of this video dissemination issue in cities such as San Diego, Oakland and Seattle.

On the LAPD official website, officers have an obligation to “to protect and serve” the community. With this motto as a foundation, there should be questions asked and answered among officers and residents, as there should also be trust in their ability and intent to protect and serve local communities.

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