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Bloviating Zeppelin: Cops With Head Cams

Bloviating Zeppelin

(in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Cops With Head Cams

The City of San Jose (CA) Police Department is fielding a trial program where 18 patrol officers will be testing a new head-cam device (see photograph).

Selected officers will be recording all contacts with citizens and calls for service.

The device, called AXON, is marketed by Taser.

Is this a good thing or a bad thing?


Frankly, my guess would be that this is the wave of the future for law enforcement.


Blogger Law and Order Teacher said...

I'm glad I'm out of LE. I wouldn't want that camera with me all the time. I probably would have been fired early in my career for my sarcasm and occassional physical force. Some things need to be done and the public wouldn't understand. Again, thankfully, I'm out.

Wed Dec 23, 09:23:00 PM PST  
Blogger cj said...

BZ -

I actually think it's a good thing. It'll be a way for the good guys to fight the 'cell phone video' footage that gets aired on the news that makes cops look like the bad guys.


Wed Dec 23, 09:31:00 PM PST  
Blogger Tom said...

The Borg look is never cool...

Merry Christmas!

Thu Dec 24, 04:07:00 AM PST  
Blogger Greybeard said...

Pain in the ass, but overall, probably a good thing. In my short career as a Deputy, the thing that surprised me most was the number of folks attracted to the job because they wanted to go fast with "lights and siren", or to wear the badge and gun and push their chest out.
This device will help keep that sort under control, don't you think?

Thu Dec 24, 04:14:00 AM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas, BZ!

Thu Dec 24, 06:00:00 AM PST  
Blogger Rivka said...

I would say 80% bad and 20% good. Yes, it would be a good way to counter the phone video's that get only part of an interaction which can skew it.

But I am sorry, it will open the doors for lawyers and the state run media to redefine what 'is' is when a cop has a rough encounter with someone. A cop would have to be an emotionless, actionless robot in order to come out totally clean in the eyes of the leftists and lawyers.

Thu Dec 24, 06:41:00 AM PST  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

It's a good idea, IMO.

It protects both the police and the potential arrestee.

Thu Dec 24, 07:05:00 AM PST  
Blogger WoFat said...

Will the camera be on for the officer's entire tour of duty? I guess they'll have to be trained not to aim when having a pee, because to focus in on the aiming mechanism would turn their video into an X rated saga. Or, in some cases, a short subject.

Thu Dec 24, 07:20:00 AM PST  
Blogger A Jacksonian said...

Yet more public records to keep track of! It helps on the disputes with no one else there to witness it (the he said/she said concept) but only slightly. Video, on its own, isn't enough... even with audio added in. And if you have both you are then going after the individual's perceptions of events, and a court room is not the same as being on the scene.

As a limited training tool to help officers understand the limits of their own perceptions and why they react the way they do, it could be a very useful device. For every day during the entire tour... well, any officer that has this stuff used should make a jury sit through an entire working day that a cop has to go through so that they understand the officer's entire condition at any incident. Fresh at the start of the day is one thing, but six hours in? Make a jury sit through that day and while you may not win a case, you will assuredly have a better set of judgments coming down as what has to be done for an entire day before and after an event will give its full context.

That is the problem with cell phone video: not enough context, just event recording.

No one will want to use it properly if they don't want justice administered, just want a decision made. Thus it will be snippeted and taken out of context by those with the intent of a decision, not of justice.

Thus a good tool for some things, but when used improperly, will make things worse. Just like any other tool ever made.

Merry Christmas, Mr. Z!

Thu Dec 24, 09:16:00 AM PST  
Blogger Jo said...

I miss the days where police officers could do their jobs without fear of lawsuits, camera's etc.

Anyway....Hope you and Mrs. BZ have a very Blessed and Merry Christmas!

Thu Dec 24, 11:13:00 AM PST  
Blogger Tim said...

A good thing. It will prevent abuse of authority on the one hand and give the police officer indisputible proof when questioned as to why he had to use force to subdue an offender. I'd like to get one mounted on my skiing helmet for shooting videos of some of my gnarly ski runs. I saw this at Dick's sporting goods for $100 or so. I think it's called "Helmetcam" or something like that.
It's telling that the ones against it here want the freedom to misbehave while in uniform.

Thu Dec 24, 12:09:00 PM PST  
Blogger mrchuck said...

I say NO.
As a "retired LEO 35 yrs, there are time when dealing with perps that you have to make things perfectly clear about the consequences of dis-obeying the laws.

Thu Dec 24, 03:12:00 PM PST  
Blogger mrchuck said...

I say NO.
As a "retired LEO 35 yrs, there are time when dealing with perps that you have to make things perfectly clear about the consequences of dis-obeying the laws.

Thu Dec 24, 03:14:00 PM PST  
Blogger cary said...

I agree with AJ - there is nothing like actually being on-scene to help you understand the decisions that were made when they were made.

Until the playback can inject the same levels of adrenalin into the viewer, ain't gonna be worthwhile in the court of law.

Entertaining? Yes. Training material? Undoubtedly. Legal record? Not on your life.

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Thu Dec 24, 03:53:00 PM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Thank you all for weighing in. I'm writing this -- ahem -- during a moment down at work on Christmas Eve. I tried to send as many of my troops home early as I could and still retain some kind of staffing complement. I sent the troops with families home first.

I'd like you to know this about the troops I supervise: there are roughly 85 deputies per shift for which I am responsible, at my facility and another. I received four separate calls from four separate deputies asking me if I could send home their fellow workers who had a family and kids-- that they would cover the work, work harder, so that their friends could leave an hour or two early on Christmas Eve.

I did precisely that.

Merry Christmas, friends and readers, from BZ, on Christmas Eve.


Thu Dec 24, 06:32:00 PM PST  
Blogger Greybeard said...

Don't ya love that?
Bless you BZ, and all the others watching our backs tonight and tomorrow night...
Our "first line of defense", just as important as our military in these difficult times.
Be safe.

Thu Dec 24, 08:20:00 PM PST  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

I would think, if the officer's done things right, it can only be an asset. What's the record as far as police car cams, go? I think it's much the same thing.

Thu Dec 24, 08:26:00 PM PST  
Blogger LoneRider said...

Thanks to all the LE's out there. I've had a few bad incidents, but most of them have been good. Y'all have a job that can be tough and thankless.

It is amazing the differences in the reactions to in car video. Some states such as Texas love all the capabilities our units, where it is suspected officers in other areas actively sabotage the units.

I am a hardware designer/software engineer, one of the software bits I wrote was some simple telemetry, we've received units and examined the data to find that some officers would disconnect power to the unit several times during a shift, coincidentally during the times citizens complaints accused the officer of behavior not consistent with the expectation we have of a public servant.

At the same time the unique ability to go back in time and create a record event from the cache on the disk and have answered questions that have let to the understanding of officer involved accidents and pictures of cop shooters.

Possibly one of the most amusing aspects of police video is the rear seat cam. It is quit amusing to watch the suspects giving their play by play as the officers are searching their car/truck!

All in all, I believe from what I have seen, police video is seen as an asset by the vast majority of our customers. Again, I'm not in customer service, just an engineer.

Merry Christmas to all BTW!

Thu Dec 24, 09:39:00 PM PST  

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