Saturday, December 20, 2014

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The Call Blog: Should Police Officers Wear Cameras On Patrol?

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Police Commissioner Bill Bratton was quoted as saying officers will like wearing cameras, because "very often, the officer’s version of events is the accurate version." If the top cop feels that way, and civilians support it, more technology is on the way. But the jury is out whether it will affect anyone's behavior.

Public Advocate Letitia James released a report today detailing a pilot program to equip police officers with cameras in high-crime precincts. James feels recording police interactions with civilians will "expand transparency, accountability and fairness, while continuing to maintain law and order." The idea isn't new, but has gained more support after the attempted arrest of Eric Garner was captured on cell phone video.

The Office of the Public Advocate estimates each camera would cost between $450-$900, and a pilot program equipping 15% of the officers would use about $5 million in taxpayer money. James argues the money is well spent because the City paid $152 million in "court judgments and settlements" in 2012 as a result of claims filed against the NYPD.

This effort comes as the NYPD Chief of Department's Office reportedly sent a memo to all precinct commanders last week to remind officers that "members of the public are legally allowed to record police interactions." That rule is not in effect if a person is interfering with police operations while recording the interaction. What do you say?

Do you want police officers to wear body cameras? Is this a smart use of tax dollars? Will it make a difference in the way cops and civilians interact with each other? Have you ever recorded or tried to record an interaction with police in New York City?

Send your thoughts using the link above.

Hi John,

I think police officers should wear a camera on their uniforms detailing their interactions with civilians because some officers believe in going to far when arresting people espically people of color, Mr Baez Mr Garner Mr Bell Mr Diallo and Mr Brown died while in police custody. I hope that more people record officers when they arrest someone espically when they arrest people of color i will get a Iphone soon and start recording the police when they arrest a minority person, some cops are racist it's hard to believe racism still exists in 2014


Good evening John,

Absolutely!!! This is a brilliant idea. Money well spent and the sooner the better. This is something that should have been implemented years ago due to police brutality from out of control officers. I hope, of course, this will be HD & very clear audio, and the abuser will not have the option to turn it off and on at will. This new addition to their family of amor will certainly put a significant dent in their "blue wall of silence" and hopefully, put a stop to civilians being harassed, brutalized and/or murdered by very big ego's, trigger happy, out of control NYPD officers. With their blatant lack of respect towards minorities, solely African Americans and latinos Americans here in America, how can anyone from other countries who reside here, really trust them to protect? One thing is for sure, cell phones are a great thing, so don't forget to charge your's. When you see something, record it and send it to JOHN - NY1.

Financial District

Hi John,

So now as one can see this administration is always after the fact. I suppose the public advocate will take credit for this proposal. But everyone is still a big sport with spending our tax money. She and all the others should remember that this camera will work both ways. I also was not aware that the public has permission to record police interactions providing the person or persons do not inter-fear with police interactions. I have a question: To record an interaction and to film an interaction with the police are two different things. So all the love for this man wasn't enough for any one person or persons to say something and yet numerous people heard him saying he cannot breathe. They all stood by just watching what was happening and I have heard many times numerous people say where is the humane aspect of these arrests.

I do feel very sorry for Garner and his family !

Thank you John,

These people of color in the city administration want to tie the police hands, then eliminate small drug arrests because to many black and Hispanic are being arrested, then want an IG to oversee the police, and now cameras. These leeches should get out of New York. There is no room for their racism.

Park Hill


I don't think the cameras will work. They will be a waste of money. Instead, start a program to identify rogue cops and remove from the force.

Port Richmond, SI

A $1 million reward should be given to any person, including police, who provide information leading to evidence that an active duty police officer is demonstrating racist, homophobic or bigoted behavior. This will encourage people to speak up and help halt the deep-seated bigotry police departments unfortunately harbor. A small but harmful minority of police are bigots costing taxpayers billions in legal fees and liability. We will save lives and money by handing out a million dollars to turn a bigot in.


Equipping the police with cameras is a great idea, and should be welcomed by the police department especially in light of recent events which have made their relations, particularly with communities of color, very strained to say the least.

Bay Ridge

I'm a fan & supporter of thee Rev.Al Sharpton, but i am so perturbed & taken back with his cowardly decision to back down & change his Aug.23rd. Verrazano Bridge March, to the Get On The Bus Rally instead.

For the treatment & killing of Mr.Eric Garner, was totally wrong, inhumane & an outright crime, I feel so horrible, angry, helpless & utterly sad for what his family & friends must be going through.

An innocent man is dead for absolutely NO reason, other than for an intimidated crew of paramedic's & a cocky, unprofessional police officer & racist wanna be MMA fighter "Daniel Pantaleo", and for the Reverend to listen to all those pathetic cries & stop the march; I feel was a HUGE stab in the back to the whole Humane & Civil Rights Movement that so many died for since the day the movement all began...

This is yet another blow which makes this such a sad, uncaring & confusing world that we live in, we can have an entire Bridge closed for a Bike Race or NYC Marathon, an everyone is fine with that, but when we keep the Bridge open and wanna minus a lane ore two, for the immoral unjust killing of Eric Garner; a human being for crying out loud & for such an important cause as Racial Injustice, then everyone goes crazy, thinking up every stupid far fetched excuse in the book to shut the march down~~~~~~~~this is WRONG--something is TRULY NOT RIGHT with this way of thinking, and i still cant believe that Reverend Shapton caved in that easily & coward down like that, without even putting up a fight first, im sooo ashamed at him, he's a great Activist & fighter, but this fight he just threw in the towel, just like that, thats not like him at ALL~~ i just wonder which politician or donator->[$$$] got to him 1st., played Lets_make_a-deal & swayed his ultimate decision.

Thank you for your time in reading my e-mail NY1 The Call, your Listeners & Viewers.!!!

Utmost respect...

Disappointedly yours,

Richmond, NY

I support the cameras why not everyone uses cell phones. I also support bringing the same police officers to the foot patrol. More uniforms. Hire more police officers from that grew up in New York City. Put them back into their neighborhood.

East Harlem

Let's see if these perps were picking daisies or loitering. Yes cameras


I think the idea of police officers wearing body cameras is good in theory, but I'm concerned about its implementation. I agree with others, that there would be a welcomed level of accountability between civilians and police officers, but there are too many unanswered questions: who will have access to the footage, will police officers have the option to turn the cameras on and off, can the footage be erased by said officer, etc.


Yes! Cops should wear body cameras. Not just in high crime neighborhoods but all over. These cops are out of control. Little by little it's been progressing more and more and if we don't take a stand now it is going to get out of control. They think they are above the law. They walk around treating everybody people like if everybody is a criminal. There are times when they turn a minor incident into something so big just because they want to prove that they are cops. I've seen them harassing teenagers who are just walking by. Of course not all cops are bad and bullies but the good ones will eventually learn from the bad ones since they can see that they can get away with it, and they do. How? They get one day vacation or sick day taken away, or they get desk duty.... Woohoo....

We need respect and control, they are not above the law and they can't and should not treat people the way they do. This needs to end, I am sick of watching all these videos of these cops. If this continues, everybody will lose respect for cops and it will cause more problems.

Julie from Queens

I say that police should wear cameras. In this way, it will hopefully prevent police abuse, AND will prevent police from being falsely accused of civil rights violations.

We need to remember that resisting arrest is up in the city now, hence a recording of what has taken place WILL be quite important.

Flushing, NY

Make a county police dept, NY needs law and order not more You Tube Videos. New Yorkers don't know how to act, NYPD will abuse these cameras, why don't just give them a raise or bring in the state trooper to over see Nypd


I support the cameras because it will help us to keep track of what is really going on when cops patrol our streets. The cameras will help us to see who is really being aggressive and who isn't. The reality is, cops of killed several innocent people. Sometimes the aggresor is the person being arrested and somethimes the aggresors are the cops themselves. If the police department has nothing to hide, then the cameras should be no problem. I agree with the other caller about the psycbological states of some people who are being positioned as cops. We should feel protected by cops, not be afraid of them. Sometimes they abuse their authority and it saddens me. For the cops and the community, the cameras are a great.

Simone from Brooklyn

I feel that officers wearing cams is a good idea because it would show proof if something did go down--that wasn't appropriate between an officer an a civilian. Cops always have the upper hand when an incident happens between a cop and a civilian, but with a cam on an officer the civilian that may have been violated has a better chance of prosecuting that officer. Eyewitness has never worked against prosecuting an officer. officer.

Rob/ fordham hill

Yes to cameras but don't stop there arrest and convict killer cops they are people just like us. A job is what you do for a living not who you are. Let's correct and stop senseless killings and send killer cops to JAIL.

From corona

my name is Fernando from Flushing New York.

I think the video camera is a good idea.what New Yorkers need to do is go to the local city council.and if you want something done go and volunteer speak your mind your ideas. NYPD does a terrific job. we as New Yorkers need to respect the NYPD.

I was at Occupy Wall Street. The police repeatedly shoved, pushed and created dangerous crowd situations. I watched 3 police officers yank a disabled occuoy Wall Street protester out of his wheelchair and throw him on the ground. Who is the criminal there? Having cameras is a joke-- just how easy is it to "accidentally" turn off the camera?!!!! Please!!!!

Ditmas park

If we put body cameras on every police officer, giving them reason to be more hesitant in their jobs, and allowing the armchair quarterbacks to over analyze their performance, then the high crime areas were just grow & circulate throughout our city, much like all the cameras did to our city jails, surrendering authority over to the inmates.


I am all for Police wearing cameras but there are so many unanswered questions about how it would work. Where will this footage be stored and for how long? Who would have access to it; the officer themselves, their commanders? What about the public; would they have a right to see any interactions with officers. Is this only for officers; what about SGT.s, DTs, ESU, and commanders? Also, what happens when officers enter a person's home or helps in a medical emergency; would that also be filmed? I like the idea but there are still to many unanswered questions to make this happen full-scale anytime soon.

Staten Island

This is such an obvious issue. If the cops are not doing anything wrong then they have nothing to worry about. They always say that about the public why should it not apply to them?

Washington Heights

As a Police Officer, I am in favor of the body cameras. I have requested one, and I would even buy my own. If the public could see what I see, things will change. If the public saw how drunk and aggressive someone is, or if they saw how uncooperative people are, things may work in the favor of the police. It will backfire against the community because when the police can show the entire scene from start to finish.


Really, Are we ready to trust the NYPD to not edit anything that would show wrongdoing on their part ? With the right editing they could turn an entire video recording of police "abuse and misconduct" , recreating it into a glorified "police ad" for more funding...



After what a camera did to expose the nypd tactics in the case of eric gardner,this is a positive for the city.if we can use tax dollars to pay the salaries of bad apples in the nypd,we can use it for cameras to deter maniacal cops

Far Rockaway

If an officer needs to second guess his actions when taking down an assailant or a person resisting arrest due to cameras we will see more and more officers as well as innocent bystanders getting hurt by these criminals

Like the old saying goes " a society that makes a war against the police had better make friends with it's criminals".

Tiffany From Brooklyn

It seems to me the NYPD is just hiring anybody. I would love to know how intensive are the psychiatric evaluations? Body cameras are irrelevant. All they will do is remove them and tape what they want to be taped.


I think the police should wear body cameras because the good hardworking cop won't mind, they have nothing to hide but the rogue cop who gets off on emasculating and making Black and Latino men feel inferior will hate it. If there was a body camera worn by the cop who shot that young man in St. Louis, a lot of questions would have been answered.

Ms. Leotis

It's a step in the right directions , however it is like putting a bandaid on a wound that needs stitches...unfortunately there are no easy fixes but its still the best city in the world

Park slope

no it is a waste of money, police carry enough equipment. if there is a complaint investigate properly. hold police accountable. now perps provoke police and those filming the arrest aggravate the situation. just weed out the bad cops. we need law ans order.

herb from harlem

Hey Letitia James, I have a newsflash for you. New York crime is at an all time low and we are one of the safest cities in the world. Is it perfect? No. But keep casting this spell of doubt over our fine police force and watch us slip right back into the 80s! Don't want to be bullied by the cops? Don't break the law. End of story.

Brooklyn Heights

Police body cameras are absolutely necessary and it is incomprehensible that they've not been implemented yet. This would effectively eliminate any he said she said between police and civilians by detailing any and every interaction the police have on a day to day basis. It would make police officers think twice about how they interact with New Yorkers and it would cut down on false and/or distorted claims against NYPD officers.

This is a clear win win for all involved.

Denis, Queens

Hi John;

Cameras will be a win-win for both cops and community alike. Cops will follow department procedures and false complaints against cops will decrease.

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