When you hear the names Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, and Eric Garner you may contemplate the reasons why police force has been in the headlines so frequently as of late. The use of force by police officers on civilians when their own life may or may not have been in jeopardy has been a contentious argument for the past few years. This can cause unnecessary personal injury or in some cases sadly, death. What adds to the shame is that we cannot even agree as to what transpired in the events leading up to these confrontations between the citizens and officers.
Can we trust the officer to accurately account for what happened even when there is a history of police lying to protect each other, commonly known as the “blue wall of silence”? Can we trust the civilian’s explanation of what happened if there is no witness to the events? As citizens we just want the truth of what happens when our police engage in force with a civilian and to hold them accountable when they make a mistake. Responding to public desires, Chandler Police Department is taking the steps necessary to ensure that their officers are held to a professional standard and mitigating the concerns of those in their community.
Chandler Police Chief Sean Duggan on January of this year proposed equipping every officer on the force with body worn police cameras. “Cameras will absolutely help us send the message that we are proud of our organization and we are held to the highest standards of accountability,” Duggan said.
A study published in the Journal of Quantitative Criminology recently researched whether using body cameras on police officers would affect behavior and found that officers in the control group (without cameras) were more than two times as likely to use force while working than the experiment group (with cameras). Proving that when being watched, officers are more likely to use other means of deescalating a situation.
By using body cameras on officers the department can reduce complaints against officers that are unfounded, decrease the chances of personal injury at the hands of wrongful police force, resolve the rightful complaints quicker, and provide a new means to gather information in a potential case. Restoring trust between the police and the people they serve and protect.
Though there are privacy issues as to when and where police officers record, Chief Duggan responded by saying that officers will have the discretion at first when and where to record unless it is a domestic violence call. He also stated that in an era of camera phones and social media “everyone else is painting the narrative” while the police are not.
Police force against civilians has been a part of our culture since the beginning of this nation and we do not expect it to change over night. What we do expect is for the officers to act professionally when interacting with the public. By doing this we can begin to mend the relationship between police and the communities they serve.
If you are ever wrongfully abused by a police officer you will need aggressive personal injury lawyers to bring them to justice. Give Torgenson Law a call today at (602)759-0012 and let us help bring you peace and prevent police misconduct from happening again.