BOTTOMLINE… Publisher’s Commentary by Wallace J. Allen
The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors ordered the Sheriff’s Department to create a pilot program to determine the effectiveness of using Body Cameras. The recent NBC video of County Sheriff’s Deputies’ violent capture of a “since-released-with-no-charges-filed-against-him” suspect prompts the BOS concern.
Deputies, and all police should wear body cameras. The concern regarding the effect of police wearing body cameras is a mystery to me. Police serving the city of Rialto have been celebrated across America for their effective crime and violence reducing Body Camera Policy.
The Guardian Newspaper published a statement back in November 2013 regarding the Rialto Body Camera Policy entitled, “The College of Policing”, which recently announced plans for large-scale trials of body-worn video in England and Wales, saying Rialto’s experiment showed big drops in the use of force and in public complaints against officers.”
The New York Daily News published a story in August of 2013, written by Nancy Dillion that quoted the Rialto Police Chief regarding the effectiveness of using Body Cameras.
Rialto Police Chief Tony Farrar said he had worried the cameras would have a chilling effect, but found that wasn’t the case:
“The thinking was that some officers wearing cameras might try to hide and not really do their job. We found the opposite,” Farrar said. “We actually had 3,000 more officer-citizen contacts during the year (of the experiment).”
At the same time, formal complaints against his officers plunged 88 percent during the year, he said. And officer “use of force” incidents dropped by 59 percent.
“When you put a camera on a police officer or anyone, the natural human reaction is that you behave a little more professional. You follow the rules a little more,” he said. “On the other side, if a citizen knows the officer has a camera, that person acts and behaves a little bit more professional, too.”
He said the program cost about $150,000 for the initial 54 cameras, the batteries and the software — all supplied by Taser and Evidence.com.
The local proof of positive results coming from the police use of Body Cameras is in! There is little need for the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s department to continue dragging feet regarding Body Cameras. They need to simply call Rialto for advice and consultation!