Body cameras on police officers seem like they’re almost standard operating equipment these days — except when they aren’t. In Florida, that’s more often than you might think, particularly in the larger departments.
Body cameras are designed to do several things:Provide evidence that can be used in court during prosecutions
- Expose “bad actors” in the police department who abuse their authority
- Protect the police against false allegations of misconduct
- Protect the public against police brutality
The use of body cams by the police seems like a “win-win” situation, right? So, why are so many departments resistant to their use?
An investigation into the issue in South Florida discovered that the Hialeah Police, for example, don’t have them. Hialeah is the fourth-largest department in Miami-Dade County. The Hollywood Police Department in Broward County, the Davie Police Department and the Plantation Police Department are also sans body cameras.
You only have to do a quick Google search like “police violence or abuse caught on camera” to realize that many police departments have a vested interest in keeping the cameras away from their officers. Videos of police officers abusing minorities, for example, have exposed major problems in the way that people of color are treated (or mistreated by officers). There have also been shocking videos of officers right here in Florida threatening to shoot unarmed children outside of a school.
It’s reasonable to expect the police to police themselves. Body cameras can make it easier to do that — and there’s no downside to having body cams as long as an officer behaves appropriately. The fact that nearly everyone has a camera right in their pockets these days, but some officers still don’t have body cameras, should be a cause for concern.
If you’re a victim of police brutality or abuses, find out more about how to assert your legal rights.