What protects a cop the most in his/her day to day job? Just a few years ago, options were limited to weapons and bulletproof vests. While these are still indispensable items of protection, they should be used as last resort options, and hopefully not every day utilities.
Today’s cop faces many challenges. With the recent events in Ferguson still fresh in our minds, it’s apparent that cops are prone to incur aggression by suspects on a daily basis. Add this interaction with the new wave of citizen cell phone reporter and it’s easy to see how witnesses see only the violence on the part of the officer without the backstory leading up to it.
Giving everyone the whole story is key to ensuring officer safety. Here in California, there is a huge push for body cameras in response to these challenges, with proven results. Rialto, California brought on body cameras and in just a year saw an 88% drop in complaints filed against officers, as well as a 60% drop in use of force by an officer. (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/07/business/wearable-video-cameras-for-police-officers.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0) Since both parties know they are being recorded, both the suspect and the officer are less likely to use language or act in a way that will escalate to force.
Technology can be a very effective line of defense for our country’s hard working police officers. Thin Blue Line’s audio and video tools can be used to show an event from the officer’s point of view, as he/she can move an iPad to show what he/she is seeing and focusing on. This increased transparency helps protect those who serve our communities, as well as the civilians who now have access to a recording of the officer/civilian interaction.
When both sides can see a story told through objective evidence, the entire community becomes more unified and safer as a result. It will take time and effort to make our cops safer in their daily routines, but video technology is already helping make that a reality.