Christian Commentaries

Operational Control of Body Cameras

Terrence Sterling, the motorcyclist who was killed by a D.C. police officer in September 2016, suffered gunshot wounds in the neck and back, according to the city medical examiner's office. Sterling, 31, of Fort Washington, Md., was shot on the morning of Sept. 11 after police said he intentionally drove his motorcycle into a police cruiser. But two other witnesses said Sterling arrived at the stop light prior to police officers who pinned to the curb with their cruiser. When he tried to drive away, he was shot. The officers involved only activated their body cameras after the shooting, contrary to regulations which require cameras to be activated prior to and during any and all engagements with potential for police action.

So now we know, body cameras worn by police are only a Public Relations (PR) tool for police. The cameras are only activated when the wearing officers activate them. And of course a shrewd officer is not going to activate the camera to reveal himself doing anything inappropriate! If these devices are to work, we've got to put their control in the hands of someone other than the wearing officer.

If an officer is working an eight-hour shift, or a twelve-hour shift, why not have constant recording? The recordings could be erased after thirty days if there is no report of an incident to be investigated. This way, the police officer is protected as well as the citizenry.

But police officers object to wearing activated body cameras, saying that activated cameras take away their freedom. I say they are servants while on duty and during this time, their time and manner of life is not their own. It is all paid for.

Body cameras provide a small avenue of supervision of officers who work away from their supervisor for most of the day. Cameras allow supervising officers to review the manner of all interactions with the public as well demeanor of the officers as they interact with each other and provide a window for evaluation of maturity.

Luke 12:2-3 (KJV)
2 For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.
3 Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.

Jesus Embroidered