In February 2012, the city of Rialto had 70 police officers take part in a controlled study in which they were required to wear a tiny camera that filmed their interactions with the public. The results were incredible: In the first year of the cameras’ introduction, complaints against Rialto police officers fell by 88%, while use of force by officers fell by almost 60%. The cameras cost as little as a tenth the price of a standard-issue firearm.
“When you put a camera on a police officer, they tend to behave a little better, follow the rules a little better,” Rialto police Chief William A. Farrar told the New York Times. “And if a citizen knows the officer is wearing a camera, chances are the citizen will behave a little better.”
Now other cities want to follow suit. The federal court in New York has ordered some police officers to carry cameras, while departments in Albuquerque, Fort Worth, Texas, and Oakland, California, have voluntarily started the practice. The test runs have been so successful they’ve even made their way toEngland and Wales, which have begun their own small-scale trial programs.
There’s even a push to take a badge camera law national — a We the People petition on WhiteHouse.gov proposing a so-called “Mike Brown Law” to require state, county and local police to wear cameras has garnered more than 154,000 signatures.
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