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Salt Lake City Police To Wear Camera Glasses 307

Psychotic_Wrath writes "The Salt Lake Police department will be much more transparent with their law enforcement. A program is being rolled out to require officers wear glasses equipped with a camera to record what they see. Of course, there are several officers opposed to this idea, who will resist the change. One of the biggest shockers to me is that the police chief is in strong support of this measure: 'If Chief Burbank gets his way, these tiny, weightless cameras will soon be on every police officer in the state.' With all the opposition of police officers being recorded by citizens that we are seeing throughout the country, it is quite a surprise that they would make a move like this. The officers would wear them when they are investigating crime scenes, serving warrants, and during patrols. Suddenly Utah isn't looking like such a bad place to be. Now we just need to hope other states and departments would follow suit. It sure will be nice when there is video evidence to show the real story."
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Salt Lake City Police To Wear Camera Glasses

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  • Two way street (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @05:08PM (#41984573)

    Have we stopped to consider that this may increase the number of things people get written up for because the officer will be less likely to 'let it slide'? How rampant is police abuse really? Sure, I've seen cops be dicks about things, but I've also had them let me off the hook. If everything they were doing was being recorded, I don't think they would have been as lenient.

  • What's the surprise (Score:5, Interesting)

    by viperidaenz ( 2515578 ) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @05:11PM (#41984627)
    The police don't want people making recordings because they can't stop it being used out of context.
    They already put cameras in their cars.
    In my country a whole police oversight investigation was launched because the media published a photo using the "look I'm holding up the hollywood sign" perspective to make it look like an officer was point his gun at the head of a teenage who was face down on the ground. Turned out the police officer was pointing his gun at the ground 3 metres away while walking in a different direction. The investigation wasted a lot of time and resources because there was no footage from another perspective.
  • by dwillden ( 521345 ) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @05:17PM (#41984721) Homepage
    He's on record in many instances against our freedoms and rights, he's not a fan of privacy or the right to record his officers on duty. And as for SLC, well this is a city that will cite you for idling too long, waiting to pick your kids up on a cold winter day with below freezing temps or a hot summer day with 100+ temps, this is a city that finds every little fine and penalty it can to drive visitors away from it. And this is par for the course. As others have noted it will be nearly impossible for them to "find" the footage if it helps your defense. However if it proves your guilt they'll be sure to have it ready for the prosecution.

    And why glasses? Not every officer wears glasses. Yes many with good vision do wear sunglasses during the day but not all and what about at night? Rather if they really want to put camera's on their officers they should look at what other communities in Utah have been doing for a few years now, pin-hole camera's mounted in their ties. Far less burdensome as they already all wear a tie as part of the uniform, now the camera just makes the tie-tack a little larger.
  • by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @05:23PM (#41984799)

    I don't know the answer but I would guess that more often than not, when its you or I in the courtroom against a cop, the cop will usually be believed. shiny blue uniform, all that crapola.

    juries are stupid. only idiots make it thru voire dire.

    sorry, but our system finds the least thinking of our citizens and hires THEM for jury duty.

    I would not want to be judged by my 'peers', truth be said.

  • Re:And the downside? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by crakbone ( 860662 ) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @05:36PM (#41984961)
    UHP has already done similar. This girl would routinely leave her mic in her car when doing DUI stops. []
  • by onkelonkel ( 560274 ) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @05:38PM (#41985003)
    In Canada we used to believe the word of an RCMP officer over the word of a citizen. The we had the Dziekanski case, where the video clearly showed that the cops were lying. Not only did they lie in their initial reports, but they continued to lie at the public inquiry, even though the video evidence clearly showed they were lying. I think if it came to a "he said she said" with the Mounties now, the citizen would be more likely to be believed.
  • Re:And the downside? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @05:39PM (#41985023) Homepage

    Also, what's to stop a cop from taking them off to do something under the table?

    Well, then you pretty much have to say "any police action which doesn't have the corresponding video will result in disciplinary action".

    You won't be able to stop the outright corrupt cops, but if someone did an arrest and didn't have the glasses on to record what actually happened -- they might get thrown out of court.

    At least, that seems a sane way. We hear far too often about cops deciding they can take/break cameras, delete images, and all sorts of other things they're not really legally allowed to do. Enforcing some level of accountability on them might actually do some good.

    There's an awful lot of police officers who either don't know, or don't care, about what they're legally allowed to do.

  • by onyxruby ( 118189 ) <`ten.tsacmoc' `ta' `yburxyno'> on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @06:25PM (#41985525)

    Interesting example you cite with Rodney King. What wasn't mentioned until well after the riots is that Rodney King was a known violent offender to the local police. More to the point he was a known violent offender high on drugs, with a gun - in his hand - and the cops were trying to get him to drop it instead of shooting him.

    This was a direct inspiration to police departments around the country to start buying tazers which at that point were not at all widely used. I empathize with your intent, but you'll want to pick another example to make your point in the future.

  • Re:And the downside? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by JonMartin ( 123209 ) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @09:15PM (#41987189) Homepage

    Problem with these cameras of course, bad officers will soon learn to strike out of camera view with fist and truncheon to escalate violence, whilst their partner 'looks' the other way and then deny it with 'proof' of video. Much like DNA evidence, better not get too wrapped into what the camera 'sees' unless they go with a fish eye lens and high resolution so they can extract the scene they are after.

    Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. Photos and video are incredibly powerful and persuasive. Even without doctoring them, they can be tremendously misleading. Present a video in court and a jury will believe that if something is not in the video IT DID NOT HAPPEN. If someone doesn't believe that they can be misled with unaltered photos and video, they are a fool. It happens every day in the news we read and watch.

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