Are law enforcement cameras an invasion of privacy?
Invasion or Protection?
Invasion or Protection?
Today in the United States there is more controversy and distrust between law enforcement and citizens than ever before. Many law implementation specialists will let you know nothing beats having cops on the beat concerning battling wrongdoing. More often-on auto theft. Across the country, 44 people are assassinated every day, and 3,800 people are victims of violent crimes. Crime rates usually rise during a recession, and that is not the case now. Nationwide, violent crimes are down 5.5 percent. Murder rates have declined 7.2 percent, robbery 8.1 percent, motor vehicle theft down 17.2 percent (Moriarty 2010). I do not think that law enforcement cameras are an invasion of privacy, but protection. I think that these cameras protect both the officer and the person who is being recorded. Most law implementation pioneers and universal freedoms backers trust the cameras will help officers in light of the fact that the gadgets give them an approach to record occasions from their perspectives during an era when residents equipped with cellphones are viewing everything they might do. I believe that law enforcement and private business owners should have the right to have cameras placed everywhere, especially in supermarkets, small shops, as well as in public places, and in law enforcement vehicles. It helps proprietor to control the business and helps police discover or endeavor to find the individual who perpetrated a wrongdoing.
Use of cameras only moved to advanced level with the introduction of the body cameras. However, use of the camera by police has existed since the introduction of cameras on the dashboard of the patrol cars, which has been there for decades. The only difference is the body cameras stays with the officer everywhere they go when obeying a search warrant in a home, running after a suspect, or when they park their cruisers at the cab (Abdollah 2014). If not turned off, the cameras may record private conversations by partners but proper handling will be a preventive measure to such cases. Certain instances that may compromise a case as a case of sexual assault may require switching off the cameras to prevent invasion of privacy for such a victim. The actual workability of the cameras and implementation of the policies towards their use need thorough scrutiny to prevent cases of exposure to sensitive information.
Like almost everything in our society, heavy use of law enforcement cameras could be more of a burden than a blessing, but I feel that they are incredibly necessary in our world today. The greatest issue this far is the absence of precise rules on the cameras utilization that could possibly disillusion the division’s objectives of making officers much accountable and imperil the security of both the general population and law enforcement officers (Abdollah 2014). As camera innovation has turned out to be more moderate and dependable, the utilization of cameras has expanded in the course the recent years. Presently officers in one of each six offices are on obligation with them on their midsections or shades, as per Scott Greenwood, general insight for the national American Civil Liberties Union. With the push of a finger, officers can demonstrate the perils and troubles of their work. Not at all like dashboard cameras, have body cameras recorded the officer all over. Presently you will have the capacity to look at what is going on when their cruiser stays stopped at the control, when they go into homes on court orders or when they are after a suspect. With the body cameras intact while on duty, the officers with low capability recalling the incidences use the recorded videos as aids to remember. As the videos act as evidence in the court of law, the officers’ work is simplified and evidence more concrete. The cameras can otherwise capture more details than an officer following the ability to recall and playing the recording over again.
Significant concerns about these cameras are the policies and the way that they are going to regulate the use of cameras without losing the public’s trust. There is an augmented area as to when departments think the cameras should be on and when they should be off. The cameras will record all conversations between the officer and the suspect, at the same time officers feel that it invades the privacy of a domestic violence victim, sexual assault victim, or anyone giving the officer any confidential information (Moriarty 2010). I believe that with the proper policies and regulations in place, that law enforcement cameras do not invade the privacy of a suspect. A regulatory measure on when to switch off the camera is necessary to avoid officers doing it when it favors them.
I think that the most efficient cameras that police could be using are body-mounted cameras. These cameras would hold an officer accountable for his actions during his time on duty, and they would provide clear evidence. With these on-officer cameras, you would be able to see firsthand the events during an officer’s patrol. These would have been very helpful to determine what happened in the two cases of white police officers shooting and killing black suspects that caused the riots in Ferguson Missouri, and in Baltimore Maryland. An excellent example of the effectiveness of law enforcement cameras took place in Chicago in 2008. Some armed robberies occurred in a retail area of Chicago. To deal with the problem, the Chicago Police Department massively increased patrols in the area and used cameras to watch for potential criminal activity. Amid the first night of the watch, an officer observing one of the cameras saw a woman enter an ATM with a man closely following her. After he was seen fleeing from her and joining another man, the officer cautioned the police near the scene to confine the men, and it worked out that the man had victimized the woman. After making the arrest, the police found that the suspects were also responsible for five previous robberies (Harris 2009). An argument that people make against these cameras is that innocents will constantly be watching while they are in public. This statement is true, but if they are innocent people, then they should not have anything to worry about while they are in public. If one of these innocent people were robbed or mugged, and the suspect was arrested because of one of these cameras, I feel that they would primarily support law enforcement cameras.
As many of the critics criticize the new technology in the excuse that the officers will neglect the actual footwork, I think this is just another tool in the toolbox to help them carry out their duties efficiently. Moriarty (2010) points out in his question on the PODs “technology is not a magic bullet to Purdon the pun,” he referred to the cameras as tools for the more fruitful job. A successful use of the surveillance cameras is in the case of Chicago that led to the arrest of two men implicated in more than six armed robberies and tracked by the camera (Harris 2009). I believe that police on duty cannot be in all the places all the times, surveillance cameras recording and monitoring events around the clock will make their work more efficient given the right control measures.
With the cameras becoming more affordable and reliable, more equipping is necessary to our police officers to ensure they attain clear coverage of the scenes at their point of view. Proper policies are on the way to development and implementation. I believe in the pilot studies and public participation that the cameras implementation will be of service to both the public and the police. Police may be reluctant in the take-up of the on-officer recording systems. Stanley (2015) reports the justifiable number of people killed in the hands of police to be 404 from data collected from 750 agencies in law enforcement. Journalists, however, say approximately 1000 deaths caused by the police officers within the 17000 companies in the United States. I believe with the on-body cameras, it will be easier to find justice and take the officers to account for these killings (Stanley 2015). Though the process may scare the officers in performing their duties or hesitating to take necessary action on a situation, it has more advantages than the disadvantages.
The police have a history of abuse of power and makeup of false accusations. An officer on duty will be responsible and treat the public with respect since the cameras are a check against abuse of power by the officers. Use of these cameras I believe will be able to uphold public confidence and protect them while defending the integrity in the protection of privacy. However, with the authority to turn the cameras on and off, there may be a problem in providing the check on the officers’ abuse of power (Moon 2014). Protection of privacy rights is the main issue with the surveillance cameras, if the implemented and yet to be formulated policies can curb the security invasion leaving other positive factors constant, then this will be a perfect win-win situation.
Abdollah T. (2014). Officers Fear Body Cameras Raise Privacy Concerns. Retrieved from: http://www.policeone.com/police-products/body-cameras/articles/6976369-Officers-fear-body-cameras-raise-privacy-concerns/. [Accessed at 8/7/2015; 9:21 PM]
Harris C. (2009). Getting an Eyeful: Camera Surveillance Systems are Helping Decrease Crime, but they come with a Price. Retrieved from: http://americancityandcounty.com/pubsafe/pros-cons-camera-surveillance-200911. [Accessed at: 8/7/2015; 10:12 PM]
Moriarty, E. (2010). Surveillance Camera and Right to Privacy. Retrieved from: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/surveillance-cameras-and-the-right-to-privacy/. [Accessed at 8/7/2015; 9:07 PM]
Moon M. (2014). ACLU Study: St. Louis City Surveillance Cameras are an Invasion of Privacy.
Stanley J. (2015). Police Body Mounted Cameras: With Right Policies in Place, A Win for All. ACLU.
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