Phila. Police considering 'On Officer Cams'
PHILADELPHIA - March 2, 2012 (WPVI) -- For as long as there have been police officers, there have been actions that have sparked controversy at times. Now there is a way to know exactly what a cop does or doesn't do.
The question is, do police departments want to make use of the technology, and does it necessarily lead to better police work.
They are called "On-Officer Cams", and were introduced just last week by Taser International, the same company that makes stun guns.
It can be worn by an officer on his sun glasses or on his lapel and they can record up to 6 hours of video and audio.
The company says, they serve as an 'independent witness' when an officer goes out on a call.
"The agencies that are using it activate it on every call that they go on, because you never know when you're going to get a complaint that an officer insulted somebody or whatever the allegations are," said Rick Smith, CEO of Taser International.
In Burnsville, Minnesota last week, a suicidal man entered the police station with a knife.
The entire incident was captured on the officer's camera as another officer suddenly opens a door, and shoots the man with his taser.
The situation was over, and the officers were commended.
In Fort Smith, Arkansas, an officer wearing the camera shot and killed a suspect who refused to drop his gun after being told as many as 10 times to do so.
The officer was cleared of any wrong doing. The officer, who wasn't sure about the cameras at first, says the footage helped him make peace with what happened.
"It has made it easier for me to get along with it, to move on with it as far as personally dealing with it," said Officer Brandon Davis.
But with a growing number of agencies using the 'On-officer cameras' we got different views on whether they are a good idea for Philadelphia Police.
"I'm not opposed to it, but before we implement something like that, I'd want to make sure there were adequate safe guards to make sure that there was no improper use of it," said Commissioner Charles Ramsey.
FOP President John McNesby worries the cameras could cause officers to second guess themselves.
"I mean it only takes a fraction of a second to make a decision out there, and if they stop to think about what they're wearing on their collar, they could get killed or they could be seriously injured, and we don't want that," said John McNesby.
But an attorney who's represented cops in court says the cameras could end all doubt about what happens in the field.
"The cameras will help the police because the defendants won't be able to lie, the camera will catch everything," said Defense Attorney, Charles Mandracchia.
The cameras have been known to cut both ways. Some officers using cameras in other jurisdictions have been fired after footage showed them using excessive force.
philadelphia police, philadelphia, pennsylvania, crime, dann cuellar
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