How Will Body Cameras Impact Criminal Cases?
The rise in national media attention around the ethics of law enforcement has prompted widespread changes in how police departments operate. Among the biggest changes is the rise in the use of police body cameras. The use of body cameras is expanding in cities throughout Texas, including Dallas and surrounding cities. According to an article from NBC News, the Irving Police Department just ordered body cameras for school officers, and Dallas is considering doing the same.
The Body Camera Debate
There is still a great deal of debate surrounding police body cameras. The introduction of cameras for officers who specifically work with minors raises even more questions, and there is much work to be done in determining how and when videos will be released. Still, many believe in the effectiveness of this tool, and studies are starting to come in that seem to reinforce this belief.
A study was conducted by the police department in Rialto, California. Officers were divided into two groups. One group had body cameras. The other group did not. The study found that officers without body cameras had twice as many incidents that used force when compared to the group with body cameras.
While this may be seen as an indication of the positive impact of body cameras, there is much more to be determined, particularly in the context of criminal prosecution and juvenile cases. How will body camera evidence be used to prove that someone was guilty of the crime they have been charged with? How effective is body camera footage? Is it clear? Can it be tampered with? Does the camera ever malfunction and turn off?
When Charged With A Crime And There Is Body Camera Evidence
With this in mind, the legal ramifications of these new body cameras and the impact of the footage they record on criminal cases is still unclear. For anyone involved in a criminal case involving body camera footage, it is important to hire an attorney with experience working with this type of evidence. An experienced attorney knows how body cameras function and can determine the weaknesses in the evidence while building an effective criminal defense strategy.
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