Good Problem Statement Research Proposal Example
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Recent events regarding alleged instances of police officers using excessive use of force have led to calls for police officers to be fitted with “body-worn” cameras. The cameras are geared to verify and validate hazy testimonies from both the suspects and the police officers involved in the scenario. More importantly, as the calls have been fueled by a number of disputed but fatal shootings, the cameras are also geared to record all interactions that the police will have with the public. Policy makers believe that the cameras will lessen the amount of violence purportedly done by police operatives and help in “getting to the bottom of things” in contestable situations. However, as with any proposal, there are those that believe that police body cameras will lessen these types of cases, it will actually negligible to no effect at all. The paper seeks to establish the veracity of each position and the foundations that each point seeks to use to lend strength to its point.
Key words: cameras, crime, police,
After the tragic shootings of Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and Eric Garner, intense protest actions have sprung up one after the other condemning the decisions of the juries’ decisions as well as the tensions regarding the relationships between the police and the minorities in the community (Anti Defamation League 1). Various sectors have proposed the wearing of “body cameras” as a possible answer to the problem; however, the use of this science has generated a number of highly charged disputes, such as the possible adverse effects on privacy liberties and police-community associations (Ziv 1).
In the aftermath of the hostile shootings between the police in cities such as Ferguson, New York, as well as Cleveland and some of its citizens, President Barack Obama stated that the government will allocate millions of dollars for jurisdictions to be able to “arm” police officers with body-mounted video monitoring systems. The idea is not a novel one; a good number of police departments in the United States have explored the possibility of body worn monitoring equipment, many of which have been evaluating this for years. Though body worn monitoring mechanics are not a perfect solution, there is little speculation that these cameras can help in curtailing abuses and holding these personnel accountable before the law. In addition, police officers being falsely accused can be cleared as well as being able to record acts of criminal conducts (Mann, Wassom 1).
These cameras are relatively small and inconspicuous and have built in protections against possible manipulation of the recordings taken during the day. It was observed that people suddenly become behaved when these are faced with the fact that these are being recorded; these equipments are an improvement from the current “dash cams” in use by way of scope, not in type.
These significant reductions in cases involving inordinate use of force by police officers and grievance cases brought forward by citizens, as claimed by law enforcement authorities, have given rise to the fears of civil rights groups such as the ACLU that the police are inclined toward full deployment of these cameras in all American jurisdictions. The ACLU is not opposed to the possibility of these cameras being used as long as concerns regarding privacy are addressed (Gillespie 1).
The operation of the cameras works two ways. One, police officers will be hesitant to commit acts of inordinate use of force; two, witnesses will be more careful in executing statements to the police; with the cameras, the statements can be either substantiated or debunked. For example, if the officer in the Michael Ferguson case was equipped with a body camera, the outcome of the trial could have been completely different (Fieldstadt 1).
The Police Foundation accomplished a thorough yearlong research activity to examine the impact of body mounted cameras on the aspect of “use of force” by police elements. Cameras were set up with various units. In the results of the study, there was a 50 percent reduction in the cumulative number of criminal incidents regarding “use of force” and nearly 10 ten times the reduction of citizens’ grievances in the period the equipment was established with the field units (Ariel 1). The striking results have resulted in rising calls from heads of police organizations looking to deploy body worn monitoring equipment for their personnel, particularly in the light of the controversial shooting deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner (Nye 1).
Recently, Cleveland city officials have announced of plans to purchase and deploy body worn cameras for its police officers. Police elements will be mandated to undertake an equipping session lasting from 3-4 hours, and then the officers will be required to wear the units on their succeeding shifts (Worldnow 1). The camera equipment will be attached to the officer’s sunglasses, shirt, head mounts, or to a cap. The cameras will be powered by a pocket sized power pack that will ensure that the camera will be recording for the entire shift (KCBD 1). However, though many of the residents in the Fourth District, where the mechanisms will be initially deployed, there are still those that are wary of the equipment and the activities where the mechanisms will be used.
In the opinion of one Cleveland resident, if the police officer chooses not to wear the camera during a police encounter, the authorities would rather support the version given by the police rather than those of the witnesses. In addition, the limitation here is when the police officer is in a “hot pursuit,” the cameras will be rendered useless owing to the movements of the officers; these are only beneficial when the officer is talking to another person (Freeman 1).
With the mandated deployment of body worn cameras, police officers will compulsorily give out a warning from the initiation of the encounter, and give an additional warning that the entire transaction is being recorded. Here, the police mindset of using illegal amounts of force will be negatively impacted by the use of the cameras as police malfeasance, without the presence of the monitoring devices, will likely go unnoticed. Hence, it can be said that the cameras will engender the treatment of an outside set of dispositional mores that will be implemented owing to the use of these cameras.
The deployment of these cameras have also helped in making the encounters between the public and the police become more transparent and the “veil of mystery” that guards police impropriety can now be easily penetrated. This factor will in turn generate a greater sense of restraint against possible infractions of regulations against excessive force usage. However, the presence or non presence of cameras on a police officer has not generated the desired constraining response from police officers. The officer caught on camera using a chokehold in Eric Garner that resulted in his death was not indicted by the grand jury. This was the same result for the police officer that shot Michael Brown; the difference here is that the Brown shooting did not involve the use of a camera.
Many civil rights advocates support the widening of the use of body worn cameras even though there have been a number of issues regarding privacy and possible abuses. The average field police officers are apprehensive on being under unceasing monitoring, or even an unsubstantiated accusation may significantly impact their careers in an adverse manner. In this light, what can be relied on is what is already prevailing in these types of situations, and that is the ambit of the law (Nye 1).
Anti Defamation League, “Exploring solutions to address racial disparity concerns,” <http://www.adl.org/assets/pdf/education-outreach/exploring-solutions-to-address-racial-disparity-concerns.pdf
Fieldstadt, Elisha, “Should Every Police Officer by Outfitted with a Body Camera?” <http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/michael-brown-shooting/should-every-police-officer-be-outfitted-body-camera-n256881
Freeman, Kevin, “How will they work? Cleveland residents get close look at police body cameras?” <http://fox8.com/2015/01/27/how-will-they-work-cleveland-residents-get-close-look-at-police-body-cameras/
Gillespie, Nick, “Make cops wear cameras,” <http://time.com/3111377/ferguson-police-cameras/
KCBD, “CPD officers will be wearing body cameras by the end of January,” <http://www.kcbd.com/story/27915677/cpd-officers-will-be-wearing-body-cameras-by-the-end-of-january
Mann, Steve, Wassom, Brian, “Body cameras for police officers: what about for ordinary citizens?” <http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2014/12/23/body-cameras-for-police-officers-what-about-for-ordinary-citizens/
Nye, James, “Police officers wearing body cameras are 50% likely to use force and 90 % less likely to have complaints made against them, new study reveals,” <http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2908751/New-study-reveals-use-body-cameras-halves-rate-police-force-causes-complaints-against-officers-drop-90-percent.html
Police Foundation, “New Publication Available: The effect of body-worn cameras on police use-of-force,” <http://www.policefoundation.org/content/body-worn-cameras-police-use-force
Worldnow, “Cleveland police will soon be wearing body cameras,” <http://www.19actionnews.com/story/27803688/cleveland-police-will-soon-be-wearing-body-cameras
Ziv, Stav, “Study finds body cameras decrease police’s use of force,” <http://www.newsweek.com/amidst-debate-study-finds-body-cameras-decrease-polices-use-force-295315
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