A federal judge wants some city police officers to wear body cameras to capture what goes on when a police officer does a stop-and-frisk, and while Mayor Michael Bloomberg is vehemently opposed, they're already used by several police departments around the country, and one police department says they've helped fight crime. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.
Officers in Greensboro, North Carolina started using body cameras this summer, and that department says it's been a plus in fighting crime and proving that they're doing their jobs correctly if complaints are made.
"It really helps to strengthen the overall police performance side, deal with frivolous or false allegations of misconduct and deal with real misconduct, and help us deal with all of that much more quickly, much more substantively to improve the overall delivery of police service," said Greensboro Police Chief Ken Miller.
It's something that federal Judge Shira Scheindlin is looking for. This week, she ruled that stop-and-frisk often violated the constitutional rights of blacks and Latinos in New York City. One of the remedies she ordered was police body cameras for officers in one precinct per borough with the highest rates of stop, question and frisk cases.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg called it a nightmare, and he said that people would say officers aren't using the cameras correctly.
"'He's turned the right way' or 'He didn't turn the right way,' 'My God, he deliberately did it,'" the mayor said Monday. "It is a solution that is not a solution."
Miller wanted the cameras to help improve his department.
"Look at policy changes, if we see that some of our policy requires are causing actions or behaviors that probably aren't in the public's interest or the department's interest," Miller said. "So we evaluate the videos for that content."
He said the cameras are easy to use and have shown officers in difficult situations acting like the professionals they're trained to be.
Here in New York, Richard Aborn, the head of the Citizens Crime Commission, said that the cameras could make stop-and-frisks better for everyone.
"They're going to get a lot more training now. There's going to be a lot more supervision out on the street," Aborn said. "And those cops are going to know that when they engage in that stop, that stop is being recorded. That's going to be a great tool to make sure this all goes correctly."
Those being stopped will know they're being recorded as well.