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    Default Limitations of Body Cameras

    A special report from the Force Science Institute
    www.forcescience.org

    10 limitations of body cams you need to know for your protection


    The idea is building that once every cop is equipped with a body camera, the controversy will be taken out of police shootings and other uses of force because "what really happened" will be captured on video for all to see. Well, to borrow the title from an old Gershwin tune, "It Ain't Necessarily So."

    There's no doubt that body cameras--like dash cams, cell phone cams, and surveillance cams--can provide a unique perspective on police encounters and, in most cases, are likely to help officers. But like those other devices, a camera mounted on your uniform or on your head has limitations that need to be understood and considered when evaluating the images they record.

    "Rushing to condemn an officer for inappropriate behavior based solely on body-camera evidence can be a dicey proposition," cautions Dr. Bill Lewinski, executive director of the Force Science Institute. "Certainly, a camera can provide more information about what happened on the street. But it can't necessarily provide all the information needed to make a fair and impartial final judgment. There still may be influential human factors involved, apart from what the camera sees."

    In a recent conversation with Force Science News, Lewinski enumerated 10 limitations that are important to keep in mind regarding body-camera evidence (and, for the most part, recordings from other cameras as well) if you are an investigator, a police attorney, a force reviewer, or an involved officer. This information may also be helpful in efforts to educate your community.


    1. A camera doesn't follow your eyes or see as they see.

    At the current level of development, a body camera is not an eye-tracker like FSI has used in some of its studies of officer attention. That complex apparatus can follow the movement of your eyes and superimpose on video small red circles that mark precisely where you are looking from one microsecond to the next. "A body camera photographs a broad scene but it can't document where within that scene you are looking at any given instant," Lewinski says. "If you glance away from where the camera is concentrating, you may not see action within the camera frame that appears to be occurring 'right before your eyes.'

    "Likewise, the camera can't acknowledge physiological and psychological phenomena that you may experience under high stress. As a survival mechanism, your brain may suppress some incoming visual images that seem unimportant in a life-threatening situation so you can completely focus very narrowly on the threat. You won't be aware of what your brain is screening out. "Your brain may also play visual tricks on you that the camera can't match. If a suspect is driving a vehicle toward you, for example, it will seem to be closer, larger, and faster than it really is because of a phenomenon called 'looming.' Camera footage may not convey the same sense of threat that you experienced. "In short, there can be a huge disconnect between your field of view and your visual perception and the camera's. Later, someone reviewing what's caught on camera and judging your actions could have a profoundly different sense of what happened than you had at the time it was occurring."


    2. Some important danger cues can't be recorded.


    "Tactile cues that are often important to officers in deciding to use force are difficult for cameras to capture," Lewinski says. "Resistive tension is a prime example. "You can usually tell when you touch a suspect whether he or she is going to resist. You may quickly apply force as a preemptive measure, but on camera it may look like you made an unprovoked attack, because the sensory cue you felt doesn't record visually."

    And, of course, the camera can't record the history and experience you bring to an encounter. "Suspect behavior that may appear innocuous on film to a naive civilian can convey the risk of mortal danger to you as a streetwise officer," Lewinski says. "For instance, an assaultive subject who brings his hands up may look to a civilian like he's surrendering, but to you, based on past experience, that can be a very intimidating and combative movement, signaling his preparation for a fighting attack. The camera just captures the action, not your interpretation."


    3. Camera speed differs from the speed of life.

    Because body cameras record at much higher speeds than typical convenience store or correctional facility security cameras, it's less likely that important details will be lost in the millisecond gaps between frames, as sometimes happens with those cruder devices. "But it's still theoretically possible that something as brief as a muzzle flash or the glint of a knife blade that may become a factor in a use-of-force case could still fail to be recorded," Lewinski says.

    Of greater consequence, he believes, is the body camera's depiction of action and reaction times. "Because of the reactionary curve, an officer can be half a second or more behind the action as it unfolds on the screen," Lewinski explains. "Whether he's shooting or stopping shooting, his recognition, decision-making, and physical activation all take time--but obviously can't be shown on camera.

    "People who don't understand this reactionary process won't factor it in when viewing the footage. They'll think the officer is keeping pace with the speed of the action as the camera records it. So without knowledgeable input, they aren't likely to understand how an officer can unintentionally end up placing rounds in a suspect's back or firing additional shots after a threat has ended."


    4. A camera may see better than you do in low light.

    "The high-tech imaging of body cameras allows them to record with clarity in many low-light settings," Lewinski says. "When footage is screened later, it may actually be possible to see elements of the scene in sharper detail than you could at the time the camera was activated.
    "If you are receiving less visual information than the camera is recording under time-pressured circumstances, you are going to be more dependent on context and movement in assessing and reacting to potential threats. In dim light, a suspect's posturing will likely mean more to you immediately than some object he's holding.

    When footage is reviewed later, it may be evident that the object in his hand was a cell phone, say, rather than a gun. If you're expected to have seen that as clearly as the camera did, your reaction might seem highly inappropriate."
    On the other hand, he notes, cameras do not always deal well with lighting transitions. "Going suddenly from bright to dim light or vice versa, a camera may briefly blank out images altogether," he says.


    5. Your body may block the view.

    "How much of a scene a camera captures is highly dependent on where it's positioned and where the action takes place," Lewinski notes. "Depending on location and angle, a picture may be blocked by your own body parts, from your nose to your hands.
    "If you're firing a gun or a Taser, for example, a camera on your chest may not record much more than your extended arms and hands. Or just blading your stance may obscure the camera's view. Critical moments within a scenario that you can see may be missed entirely by your body cam because of these dynamics, ultimately masking what a reviewer may need to see to make a fair judgment."


    6. A camera only records in 2-D.

    Because cameras don't record depth of field--the third dimension that's perceived by the human eye--accurately judging distances on their footage can be difficult. "Depending on the lens involved, cameras may compress distances between objects or make them appear closer than they really are," Lewinski says. "Without a proper sense of distance, a reviewer may misinterpret the level of threat an officer was facing."
    In the Force Science Certification Course, he critiques several camera images in which distance distortion became problematic.

    In one, an officer's use of force seemed inappropriate because the suspect appears to be too far away to pose an immediate threat. In another, an officer appears to strike a suspect's head with a flashlight when, in fact, the blow was directed at a hand and never touched the head.
    "There are technical means for determining distances on 2-D recordings," Lewinski says, "but these are not commonly known or accessed by most investigators."


    7. The absence of sophisticated time-stamping may prove critical.

    The time-stamping that is automatically imposed on camera footage is a gross number, generally measuring the action minute by minute. "In some high-profile, controversial shooting cases that is not sophisticated enough," Lewinski says. "To fully analyze and explain an officer's perceptions, reaction time, judgment, and decision-making it may be critical to break the action down to units of one-hundredths of a second or even less.

    "There are post-production computer programs that can electronically encode footage to those specifications, and the Force Science Institute strongly recommends that these be employed. When reviewers see precisely how quickly suspects can move and how fast the various elements of a use-of-force event unfold, it can radically change their perception of what happened and the pressure involved officers were under to act."


    8. One camera may not be enough.


    "The more cameras there are recording a force event, the more opportunities there are likely to be to clarify uncertainties," Lewinski says. "The angle, the ambient lighting, and other elements will almost certainly vary from one officer's perspective to another's, and syncing the footage up will provide broader information for understanding the dynamics of what happened. What looks like an egregious action from one angle may seem perfectly justified from another.

    "Think of the analysis of plays in a football game. In resolving close calls, referees want to view the action from as many cameras as possible to fully understand what they're seeing. Ideally, officers deserve the same consideration. The problem is that many times there is only one camera involved, compared to a dozen that may be consulted in a sporting event, and in that case the limitations must be kept even firmer in mind.


    9. A camera encourages second-guessing.

    "According to the U. S. Supreme Court in Graham v. Connor, an officer's decisions in tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving situations are not to be judged with the '20/20 vision of hindsight,' " Lewinski notes. "But in the real-world aftermath of a shooting, camera footage provides an almost irresistible temptation for reviewers to play the coulda-shoulda game.

    "Under calm and comfortable conditions, they can infinitely replay the action, scrutinize it for hard-to-see detail, slow it down, freeze it. The officer had to assess what he was experiencing while it was happening and under the stress of his life potentially being on the line. That disparity can lead to far different conclusions.

    "As part of the incident investigation, we recommend that an officer be permitted to see what his body camera and other cameras recorded. He should be cautioned, however, to regard the footage only as informational. He should not allow it to supplant his first-hand memory of the incident. Justification for a shooting or other use of force will come from what an officer reasonably perceived, not necessarily from what a camera saw."


    10. A camera can never replace a thorough investigation.

    When officers oppose wearing cameras, civilians sometimes assume they fear "transparency." But more often, Lewinski believes, they are concerned that camera recordings will be given undue, if not exclusive, weight in judging their actions. "A camera's recording should never be regarded solely as the Truth about a controversial incident," Lewinski declares. "It needs to be weighed and tested against witness testimony, forensics, the involved officer's statement, and other elements of a fair, thorough, and impartial investigation that takes human factors into consideration.

    "This is in no way intended to belittle the merits of body cameras. Early testing has shown that they tend to reduce the frequency of force encounters as well as complaints against officers. "But a well-known police defense attorney is not far wrong when he calls cameras 'the best evidence and the worst evidence.' The limitations of body cams and others need to be fully understood and evaluated to maximize their effectiveness and to assure that they are not regarded as infallible 'magic bullets' by people who do not fully grasp the realities of force dynamics."
    "Nothing is more dangerous than the conscientiously ignorant, or the sincerely stupid." - Martin Luther King Jr.

    "Knowledge speaks but wisdom listens." - Ed Parker Sr.

    "It's much easier to quote, than to know." - Ron Chapél


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    Default Re: Limitations of Body Cameras

    I really am a fence sitter on this one. I can see the positive side, but it's just so easy to second guess and take things out of context. Serving the public is much more complex than a video can possibly show.
    Be careful what you say, some may take it the wrong way.

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    Default Re: Limitations of Body Cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by jdinca View Post
    I really am a fence sitter on this one. I can see the positive side, but it's just so easy to second guess and take things out of context. Serving the public is much more complex than a video can possibly show.
    I think it is a good idea simply put abuse of power happens, greater scrutiny has long been needed, the body camera is one small step to toward greater scrutiny. I totally understand that it is inconvenient for cops to have body cams, I can just imagine what it would be like to wear a body cam in the middle of a combat zone, knowing full well everything you do is being recorded. However, much like people suffer through the molestation of TSA when they want to fly for the sake of safety and security, the body cam while inconvenient to cops, protects the cop from false accusations of abuse and innocent people from abuse as well... not 100% but better than nothing.
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    Default Re: Limitations of Body Cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by Kenposoldier01 View Post
    I think it is a good idea simply put abuse of power happens, greater scrutiny has long been needed, the body camera is one small step to toward greater scrutiny. I totally understand that it is inconvenient for cops to have body cams, I can just imagine what it would be like to wear a body cam in the middle of a combat zone, knowing full well everything you do is being recorded. However, much like people suffer through the molestation of TSA when they want to fly for the sake of safety and security, the body cam while inconvenient to cops, protects the cop from false accusations of abuse and innocent people from abuse as well... not 100% but better than nothing.
    I think it's pandoras box. Yes it can help the officer support his case, yes it can show abuse but either way, I think the prevalent response by an officer would be a hesitance to engage, which could be fatal.
    Be careful what you say, some may take it the wrong way.

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    Default Re: Limitations of Body Cameras

    I see 5 videos a day of officer shootings in my facebook stream. it's the latest fad. I don't think we need more cameras. I think we need is fewer people willing to push a cop to the point where violence is needed. And probably fewer crazy-ass mofos wearing a badge, some of these video are really unbelievable. I do my best to analyze and defend from the LEO point of view when I see one but sometimes I just think "what were they thinking!". But shooting that guy with the toy gun? I don;t understand...
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    Default Re: Limitations of Body Cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidCC View Post
    But shooting that guy with the toy gun? I don;t understand...
    At the time your not going to know its a toy gun. All your going to know at the time is this clown has a black object in his hand and he is pointing at you.Hopefully your training kicks in and you get to finish your shift and go home.
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    Default Re: Limitations of Body Cameras

    I hate when peoples golden retrievers get mistaken for weapons and get shot in their own backyards or homes.

    I guess we need to hire more qualified shift workers. Too bad the fire station keeps hiring them.
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    Default Re: Limitations of Body Cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidCC View Post
    I see 5 videos a day of officer shootings in my facebook stream. it's the latest fad. I don't think we need more cameras. I think we need is fewer people willing to push a cop to the point where violence is needed. And probably fewer crazy-ass mofos wearing a badge, some of these video are really unbelievable. I do my best to analyze and defend from the LEO point of view when I see one but sometimes I just think "what were they thinking!". But shooting that guy with the toy gun? I don;t understand...
    First let's realize that just because a gun isn't "real," doesn't make it a "toy." "Toy" guns look like toys. They are usually any color but "black." Most people are getting shot because they are brandishing a "replica" gun, a gun designed to look like a real gun. The press calls them toys, not the police. If you run around with a replica gun that looks real, people including the police will treat you like its real. Civilians will shoot you, or call the police who will shoot you if you're not careful. Let's switch it from a replica gun to a replica bomb. The bomb squad treats fake bombs as if they're real, and usually blow them up rather than play around trying to figure it out.

    As for dogs getting shot, the breed of the animal usually isn't a factor if you feel threatened. I don't know about anyone else but I don't intend to get bitten by anything. While the bite itself can cause serious damage, you also have to consider disease with animal bites. Even the smallest animal is quarantined for at least 10 days for signs of disease. I'm not taking the chance of getting rabies, anymore than I am going to take the chance that that gun you're carrying is actually a fake. Life's tough, it's even tougher if you're stupid. Had a guy with a gun who had his dog on a leash and wouldn't comply. He threatened us with his dog. We shot them both when he let his dog loose to attack.
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    Default Re: Limitations of Body Cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc View Post
    First let's realize that just because a gun isn't "real," doesn't make it a "toy." "Toy" guns look like toys. They are usually any color but "black." Most people are getting shot because they are brandishing a "replica" gun, a gun designed to look like a real gun. The press calls them toys, not the police. If you run around with a replica gun that looks real, people including the police will treat you like its real. Civilians will shoot you, or call the police who will shoot you if you're not careful. Let's switch it from a replica gun to a replica bomb. The bomb squad treats fake bombs as if they're real, and usually blow them up rather than play around trying to figure it out.

    As for dogs getting shot, the breed of the animal usually isn't a factor if you feel threatened. I don't know about anyone else but I don't intend to get bitten by anything. While the bite itself can cause serious damage, you also have to consider disease with animal bites. Even the smallest animal is quarantined for at least 10 days for signs of disease. I'm not taking the chance of getting rabies, anymore than I am going to take the chance that that gun you're carrying is actually a fake. Life's tough, it's even tougher if you're stupid. Had a guy with a gun who had his dog on a leash and wouldn't comply. He threatened us with his dog. We shot them both when he let his dog loose to attack.
    A dog being let loose is different than a dog confined on a property that you are choosing to enter.

    This is the more common story that I am seeing.
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    Default Re: Limitations of Body Cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by KirkS View Post
    At the time your not going to know its a toy gun. All your going to know at the time is this clown has a black object in his hand and he is pointing at you.Hopefully your training kicks in and you get to finish your shift and go home.
    Sometimes I think common sense no longer exists anymore. No, I take it back. I know it doesn't exist anymore. I have a nephew who is a L.A. City Firefighter, as well as friends who are also firefighters. To me, that's a really tough job that I could never do and my hats off to all firefighters everywhere. They are the real heroes in our civilian society.

    Like police, they often have to go places they don't want to go to do their job under urgent circumstances. We have been called to scenes and ended up killing dogs who were guarding property, or in a back yard because of a fire and a need for firefighters to get to an area before a fire got out of control and attacked other property and spread. Ideally, you call animal control who have the expertise and equipment to deal with animals. Under exigent circumstances, you do the best you can or put the animal down. Nobody wants to, nobody gets a thrill out of shooting an animal, and the paperwork and bad publicity that goes with it are sometimes much worse than shooting a bank robber or some such other criminal in the act. But it's part of the job and certainly if you can kill a human that threatens you, well a dog is a dog no matter how much we love our pets.

    We had a call of a missing/lost 3/4 year old in a neighborhood. By law we have to search for this child everywhere, including your backyard. If you have a dog on your property and you're at work, and we can't figure a way to contain the animal and feel threatened when we enter the property, chances are the animal will be put down. When we search, we have to be thorough. We can't say, "Let's wait for someone to come home and then we can comeback and search the yard." Time constraints and the law itself does not allow such luxuries. And even if it did, I can hear the people wanting our heads when we found the missing child in the yard under some bushes hours later injured or dead. They don't want to hear about a dog stopping us from finding a missing child, and certainly parents think their children take a higher priority.

    Second guessing the police is a national pastime and everyone has an opinion who has never had to do the job, been shot at, spit on, or had to take some guy into custody who is fighting you tooth and nail, and you have to try to control him without hurting him if possible. He has no rules, and you have a book of rules to go by. I had a friend tell me, "It can't be that hard." I said, "Well if you watch TV and movies a lot you might get that opinion because the bad guys get taken into custody according to what someone writes in a script. Real life is more difficult. I observed that same friend attempting to deal with his out-of-control 5 years old, who was crying and combative to anyone that came near him. He was a having hard time getting him under control. I said, "Common dude just grab him and control him, it can't be that hard." He said, "Are you crazy, he's really strong and I'm trying not to hurt him." Yeah, multiply that by 10, and he's trying to hurt you.

    Anyway, when we kill animals during the course of an investigation, we usually compensate the owner. For those who love their pets as children, it's never enough. But, pets are not people and the law considers them property. We do the best we can because we all have pets too.
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    Default Re: Limitations of Body Cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc View Post

    We had a call of a missing/lost 3/4 year old in a neighborhood. By law we have to search for this child everywhere, including your backyard. If you have a dog on your property and you're at work, and we can't figure a way to contain the animal and feel threatened when we enter the property, chances are the animal will be put down. When we search, we have to be thorough. We can't say, "Let's wait for someone to come home and then we can comeback and search the yard." Time constraints and the law itself does not allow such luxuries. And even if it did, I can hear the people wanting our heads when we found the missing child in the yard under some bushes hours later injured or dead. They don't want to hear about a dog stopping us from finding a missing child, and certainly parents think their children take a higher priority.

    Anyway, when we kill animals during the course of an investigation, we usually compensate the owner. For those who love their pets as children, it's never enough. But, pets are not people and the law considers them property. We do the best we can because we all have pets too.
    I get that, and I get that when a child is lost, you have a small window of opportunity, and have to act fast, and that officers are following written procedures.
    It's just that I really really wish the police would make darn sure the lost child isn't hiding/sleeping somewhere in their own house before they start going through peoples private property and shooting their dogs. The cases that come to my mind, that's been exactly the case.
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    Default Re: Limitations of Body Cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by J-squared View Post
    I get that, and I get that when a child is lost, you have a small window of opportunity, and have to act fast, and that officers are following written procedures.
    It's just that I really really wish the police would make darn sure the lost child isn't hiding/sleeping somewhere in their own house before they start going through peoples private property and shooting their dogs. The cases that come to my mind, that's been exactly the case.
    We always begin where the child was last seen. If it is their residence, we do a "reasonable" search. However, we don't wait until the house is dismantled before we expand the search, because that would not prove prudent or timely. "Make sure," sounds easy. It isn't. Turning a neighborhood upside down, invading people's property, detaining anyone who doesn't cooperate immediately, breaking into and towing away old cars, searching the sex offenders residents in the area, etc. It's a detail nobody wants, that everyone participates in. If we aren't "zealous and thorough," we get sued when bad things happen. Sometimes dogs die, and kids live. Sometimes it the only choice you have. Nobody understands until they have to do it. The worse part is telling the parents when you're not successful, and you find the kid too late. Yeah, it can come off heavy handed as we search - unless it's one of your kids we're looking for, than it seems like we're taking out time and not doing enough. We don't have the luxury of worrying about dogs when we are searching for children.
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    Default Re: Limitations of Body Cameras



    As to the thread. The courts have ruled repeatedly that police use of force is NOT to be judged with 20/20 hindsight, but facts the officer believe AT THE TIME of the incident (even if they prove to be false later, as long as it was reasonable to believe it at the time; ie: replica gun turns out not to be a "real gun"), but that is what we are seeing more and more of. Especially with other cameras (cell phones/security cameras etc.) that don't always see what we do doing the job and in the split second it takes to judge a high stress lethal/nonlethal situation. Second, most people DO NOT have a clue as to what police are allowed to do legally in use of force situations. For most agencies, it falls under what can be termed a "1+1" theory. That is whatever the suspect is doing, we will use one level of force higher than that to control/subdue/arrest the suspect. For example, a suspect balls up his fists and takes up an aggressive fighting posture, you would be justified in pulling out your baton and using that to protect yourself, because that is the +1 of going to fisticuffs with him (I realize that each agency has their own UoF policies and this is not a blanket thing, just a generalization based on policies in our area).
    "For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer."

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    Default Re: Limitations of Body Cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by nelson View Post
    Part of the problem seems to be that we do have bad LEO's that abuse their power with little or accountability particularily in rural areas where the sherrif is like a "god" and rules with what can only be caled fear. The circle the wagons mentality then prevails among brother officers when an incident occures that protects these "bad apples" that can and do use excessive force at times.

    The way to recovering the lost respect for the law by many American's and stopping the "second guessing" of every life or death decision by LEO's is to raise the bar nationwide in the training of our police and require ethical standards of behavior from all of our people in authority. I am not optimistic that this will ever be done in my lifetime.
    Nelson. I appreciate this comment.

    I have trouble with unions, brotherhoods, or religions that would rather keep their group "clean" than live up to a standard of excellence. State a principle, and live it.

    I feel that the change from protect and serve to enforce the laws was a fundamental change and failure be our police forces.
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    Default Re: Limitations of Body Cameras

    I think the last two points are good.

    There has definitely been a cultural shift among the population on their perspective and respect of the police departments.
    Some of it comes prom a perceived militarization of police forces. Some from ethnic and certain socio-economic groups that have felt like have been targeted. Some from a whole lot of videos that have surfaced that look like abuses of power and physical force when it's not warranted. Some from stories of back yard dogs shot for what is perceived as no real good reason.

    My point is that many police departments are slowly losing support of people and groups that traditionally fully supported them. The downside will be a higher tendency for riots, and higher physical escalations of the riots. Ferguson was not an exception, it unfortunately is going to be the norm in the future, unless something changes.
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    Default Re: Limitations of Body Cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by J-squared View Post
    I think the last two points are good.

    There has definitely been a cultural shift among the population on their perspective and respect of the police departments.
    Some of it comes prom a perceived militarization of police forces. Some from ethnic and certain socio-economic groups that have felt like have been targeted. Some from a whole lot of videos that have surfaced that look like abuses of power and physical force when it's not warranted. Some from stories of back yard dogs shot for what is perceived as no real good reason.

    My point is that many police departments are slowly losing support of people and groups that traditionally fully supported them. The downside will be a higher tendency for riots, and higher physical escalations of the riots. Ferguson was not an exception, it unfortunately is going to be the norm in the future, unless something changes.
    Some of it is perceived, some of it is from whining groups of people ....

    Is any of this from the police?

    Definitely not from drunk driving police officer killing someone, getting protected by the union so he gets paid leave of absence and gets to resume his job after counseling.

    We perceive the police wrong. Give me a break.
    A good teacher is a master of simplification and an enemy of simplism. ~ Louis A. Berman

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    Interesting Article

    More Americans Killed By Police Than By Terrorists: With Crime Down, Why Is Police Aggression Up?

    You might not know it from watching TV news, but FBI statistics show that crime in the U.S.—including violent crime—has been trending steadily downward for years, falling 19% between 1987 and 2011. The job of being a police officer has become safer too, as the number of police killed by gunfire plunged to 33 last year, down 50% from 2012, to its lowest level since, wait for it, 1887, a time when the population was 75% lower than it is today.
    So why are we seeing an ever increasing militarization of policing across the country?
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    Default Re: Limitations of Body Cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by Eastcoastkenpoist View Post

    Definitely not from drunk driving police officer killing someone, getting protected by the union so he gets paid leave of absence and gets to resume his job after counseling.

    We perceive the police wrong. Give me a break.
    I was speaking more in macro terms, and not micro. Your example is more the exception and not the rule of all police officers. Unions, as a rule, are generally contractually obligated to protect their members, whether teachers unions, fire fighters, police or auto workers.

    I still believe most police officers want to do their jobs and want to protect and serve the public. I believe that departmental policies, that the officers are required to follow, may make that difficult at times. I don't believe the crooked cop is the rule, but rather that the rules for the good cops could use some adjustment once in a while.
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    Default Re: Limitations of Body Cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by J-squared View Post
    I was speaking more in macro terms, and not micro. Your example is more the exception and not the rule of all police officers. Unions, as a rule, are generally contractually obligated to protect their members, whether teachers unions, fire fighters, police or auto workers.

    I still believe most police officers want to do their jobs and want to protect and serve the public. I believe that departmental policies, that the officers are required to follow, may make that difficult at times. I don't believe the crooked cop is the rule, but rather that the rules for the good cops could use some adjustment once in a while.
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    Default Re: Limitations of Body Cameras

    • Well statistics tell us otherwise.


    Law Enforcement Magazine, September 2014


    “Pigs!” In the 1960s, it was a disparaging and all-too-familiar moniker; police officers around the country heard it directed at them on a daily basis.
    “Pigs!” It continued through much of the '70s, '80s and '90s but as long hair shortened, bell-bottoms narrowed and body piercings and tattoos replaced love-beads and Fu Manchus, the term and perspective began to fade.


    “Pigs!” by the new millennium, was only a feint echo; all but disappearing in the mainstream. I believe there are many reasons for this. Law enforcement embraced a community oriented policing philosophy; partnering with the community and listening to citizens and their concerns. Cops began walking beats again. They got on bikes and ATVs, and started Citizen Police Academies. Police organizations and unions became involved in charitable drives: the Special Olympics, Shopping with Cops and Running with Torches.


    We listened to the community and modified our training, adding subjects such as cultural diversity, mental health issues, understanding the complexities of domestic violence, sexual assault prevention and advocating for victim’s rights. In addition, use of force training evolved and became more comprehensive, resulting in officers using less force when dealing with unruly subjects.


    In short, cops were doing better jobs and putting in a collective effort to reconnect with the citizens they were paid to protect. Fast-forward: August 2014, “Pigs” is back in vogue once again. At least it is if you follow certain members of the national media who are creating hysteria in spite of the true facts!


    Some reporters and pundits are using extraordinarily negative terminology and applying malevolent motivations to the over 700,000 individuals in the law enforcement profession. Anchors, moderators, expert guests, and opinion journalists are describing police officers as militarized brutes, racists, storm-troopers, executioners, power hungry, out of control thugs and even murderers. Phrases such as “epidemic of violence from the police towards citizens” are being bandied about with unchallenged impunity despite reality, truths and statistics.

    A woman named Michelle Bernard on a national broadcast insinuated that what happened in Ferguson, Mo. is an example of a “war on black boys” by the police and opined that the result could be “genocide.” Genocide!? Where the hell are any kind of stats, anywhere, to suggest anything remotely like that is happening between cops and young black men? And her comment was virtually unopposed by anyone else on the panel. No one knows what really happened in Ferguson yet, except a limited few. Relative information is not being released (which is contributing to some of the paranoia) and nature abhors a vacuum so there is no shortage of pundits willing to simply jump in and make stuff up.


    Here are some stats gleaned from such organizations as the National Institute of Justice:

    2011: Police officers had direct contact with citizens more than 40 million times. 1,146 of those people were shot (not killed) by police. That means out of all the people police encountered approximately 0.00002865% were shot. If you consider that there are over 320 million people in the country that would mean 0.00000358125% of them were shot by cops.


    2012: There were approximately 12 million arrests, which equals about 34,000 per day: slightly over 400 were killed by police. And almost all of them were killed because they were an immediate deadly threat to an officer or the public. Which means that at the times of those shootings, cops were saving lives.
    The Truth: Cops are not “gunning down” people in the US. Are there mistakes, overzealousness, an overreaction to stress on occasion; yes, and we have to accept that and do something about it when those occasions happen. If a crime is committed by a police officer, criminal charges need be filed; No doubt.
    But a war on the citizenry? Genocide being perpetrated by the police? Storm-troopers taking over cities?


    I’ve been in law enforcement for more than 30 years. I’ve seen more than I care to share with people who don’t need to know such evil exists. I’m no different than every other cop out there, and let me guarantee you this; we feel. We are not heartless, nonhuman, Neanderthals looking to inflict pain. In fact, it’s the damn exact opposite. We beg, beg people not to resist, not to fight! And the stats are there to prove it; but why bother with reality?


    We are attacked tens of thousands of times a year. We are wounded, paralyzed, put in comas that last decades, and are killed. We’ve been shot with every type of gun including our own; by people who were originally “unarmed.” Our attackers are young, old, male, female, small, large, weak and strong. Some have extensive criminal records, some have never been in trouble in their lives. We’ve been stabbed with swords, commando knives, kitchen utensils and box cutters.


    We also jump into rivers, run into burning buildings, reach into cars aflame, hold victims who need it and cry with people hurting and feeling the deepest of loss. When somebody is shooting up a mall, university, or movie theatre, we are the ones running toward the gunfire, not knowing how many assailants there may be, what type of firepower they are wielding, where they are and if there will be any opportunity for cover or chance to survive! We lay on the street holding dying children, women, men, pets and yes, other police officers. We knock on doors in the middle of the night and tell sleepy unsuspecting parents that the child they saw just a few hours ago is in the morgue. We hear and feel their subsequent pain and do our best to comfort them in those impossible situations. And we often ask God: Why?


    We find lifeless children in ponds, pools and lagoons. We listen to seven-year-olds describe being raped by uncles. We try and calm women who are beaten so badly that they can’t enunciate words or open a swollen eye. And we try and control our rage as we listen to them tell us not to make an arrest because it was all their fault, all while the degenerate husband laughs and calls her a bitch in our presence. We stand next to officers who get shot. We hold their hands and hug them as they die. We watch the flags get folded and handed to children who don’t understand why someone would purposely kill their mommy or daddy.
    We go home and try our best to have normal lives. We hug our kids, help with chores, coach little league and do whatever it takes to hide the ugly side of humanity from our families.


    We see the murders, the suicides, the mentally unstable. We help the homeless, give the unfortunate rides, hand a few bucks to the hungry, buy shoes for the shoeless, and get families into hotel rooms in order to protect them from the cold and the monsters looking for prey.


    Here’s my challenge for you who dare to cast baseless assertions on an entire profession while having no idea what we do or what you are talking about.
    You try it. Do what we do. See what we see. Hear what we hear. Feel what we feel. You try and handle the fear that we experience. Make the decisions that we have to make in the blink of an eye. Decisions that will be second-guessed and sometimes haunt us for years. You get shot at, or handle some idiot who claims to know his rights without a clue.


    Live in our shoes for awhile, then see if you think we are all still pigs. The stats say you're wrong. I say you're wrong. In fact, if you look at any profession, you'll find that the incident of misconduct is lower in law enforcement than it is for judges, lawyers, doctors, and car salesmen. But the media pumps up "cop stories" like no other. Why? Cause it gets your attention. Unfortunately also the fiction in movies and TV also shape your perceptions, and rarely do they get it right.

    If you believe the hype, and don't do your homework, than you're the idiot "pig," cause you're letting others tell you what you think. But then, a bunch of you voted in the last election too.
    Bogey120 and EddieCyrax like this.
    "Nothing is more dangerous than the conscientiously ignorant, or the sincerely stupid." - Martin Luther King Jr.

    "Knowledge speaks but wisdom listens." - Ed Parker Sr.

    "It's much easier to quote, than to know." - Ron Chapél


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