Initially, I assumed that most cops would reject the idea of body cameras because they are being pushed under the false premise of pervasive police brutality, à la Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, Eric Garner.
But as it turns out, a growing number of police departments are now embracing the new technology because, in an age of ubiquitous cellphone video, body cams show the public the cops’ side of the story.
The Rialto PD, under the leadership of Chief Randy De Anda, has found that this non-lethal tool engenders accountability, especially amongst those who are accusing his officers of police misconduct.
By Chief De Anda’s account, overall police complaints in Rialto have plunged an incredible 82 percent after incorporating body cameras into standard operating procedure.
Because now there is video evidence of the entire encounter under question. It’s much easier to determine which accuser is telling the truth and which is not.
“The citizens behavior changes when they see a camera and realize they’re being recorded,” said De Anda. Moreover, continued the Chief, the cameras have “been a great resource for us at the court. Before where you’d have arrests it became a suspects word against the officers word. Then you have the body-worn camera that tells the whole story.”
I partnered with one of Rialto’s finest on the graveyard shift to see the cameras in action.
And, man, there was a ton of action to capture.
Here’s my CRIME WATCH DAILY report:
P.S. In the spirit of transparency, I endorse government workers wearing body cameras, in particular the bureaucrats at the IRS.