Five Ways Police Departments Can Benefit From Using Dash Cams
December 31, 2020
These days it seems every time you turn on the news there’s a new story about tensions between those in law enforcement and everyday citizens. Law enforcement officials no doubt have a difficult job, tasked with upholding the law, enforcing the law and protecting the lives of everyday people. No doubt there are thousands of officers from coast to coast in the United States who are good at their jobs and have the trust of the citizens they protect.
But, fairly or unfairly, the actions of some law enforcement officers have become amplified on a national scale, leading some folks to have a growing distrust of police officers and law enforcement officers. Pew Research Center studies have found that in a survey of 8,000 police officers, 93% of them indicated they have become concerned about the dangers of the job.
With so much growing unrest, citizens and those in law enforcement are looking for new ways to repair any broken trust that lies between the two parties. One option to help with accountability is body cams as studies have found 93% fewer complaints from the public when officers are wearing them. Another option is police car video systems, also known as officer dash cameras or dash cams.
There’s no doubt officers dash cameras can be useful tools for both police officers and the citizens they serve. Here are five benefits police officers can gain from the use of dash cams:
- Safety: Bottom line: when officers are on the job, they want to stay as safe, especially when they’re in dangerous or uneasy situations. The use of officer dash cameras has improved officer safety since police departments are able to watch footage and analyze it. In complex situations like those where folks try to resist arrest, standoffs or shootouts. Not only can senior law enforcement use footage to see exactly what happens in a given situation, but they can use such situations to improve officer safety as well, by changing protocol for tense situations and doing all they can to make sure their officers are as safe as possible.
- Transparency: One of the other principal benefits of officer dash cameras is better transparency. By this it means that police officers and departments have hard evidence to defend or to explain their actions in a given situation. This in turn can help strengthen the public’s trust because citizens will see that their local police departments aren’t trying to hide anything or be dishonest. On the flip side, any officers who use questionable tactics will no doubt straighten up if they know they are being filmed and that footage is being stored forever. Dash cams allow officers a chance to defend their actions, giving them a backstory to what happened in a situation, rather than having to explain with no incontestable proof.
- Higher conviction rates: The average law enforcement official’s job doesn’t involve trying to send as many folks to jail as possible. But that being said, there’s no doubt that dash cams in some areas can lead to higher conviction rates due to the use of indisputable video footage. If that footage is ever used in court, juries, judges and defenders can review footage to look at how events unfolded rather than just relying on oral testimony.
- A drop in liability: It’s true that the upfront cost of tools like officer dash cameras and body-worn cameras can be somewhat costly, but for a lot of police departments it’s more than worth it. For the everyday challenges law enforcement officials face, it’s best to have all the necessary equipment at their fingertips and that includes cameras. With cameras, police interactions are recorded in real time, giving them hard evidence to be used for a number of situations such as lawsuits, should they arise. However officers or citizens may feel about the use of cameras, they help present perhaps the clearest picture of the truth.
- Training: Another great benefit of using officer dash cameras is that the interactions they recorded in a wide spectrum of situations can be used for training both the most grizzled of officers as well as fresh-faced recruits.
By using body cams and officer dash cameras, officers can feel more secure as they go about their duties of protecting everyday citizens.