Have you been stopped by a police officer in California recently? If so, were you told that your interaction with the officer was being recorded on camera? In the last few years, the use of cameras worn by police officers has been increasing and interest in this technology and its potential benefits and pitfalls has also grown.
PoliceMisconduct.net explains that one of the alleged or desired benefits of police body cameras is greater oversight of police officer behavior. Even in what may begin as a seemingly simple or routine traffic stop, the potential for officers to become hostile or discriminatory against drivers exists. By capturing stops on camera, the hope is that police misconduct may be curbed or ideally even eliminated.
Some research was done between February 2012 and February 2013 in California looking at the impact of the use of body cameras. In the three years prior to the study, police use of force remained relatively steady while complaints about officer behavior fluctuated. During the study period, however, significant drops in both the use of force and complaints about officer behavior were noted. Some people may have concerns about citizen privacy and laws may need to address what footage can be released when and why but it may well be that video footage may offer a level of protection to residents.
If you would like to learn more about your rights and expected police behavior during a traffic stop or any other type of encounter with law enforcement, please feel free to visit the vehicular citations page of our California traffic violations website.