The Chicago Police Department will begin a test trial of body cameras on police officers in two months, according to the Chicago Tribune.
This is encouraging news, considering that it is fairly common to have competing claims about the need to use excessive police force, including but not limited to police discharges of firearms. While a body camera is not perfect, it preserves an objective document of what happened. It has been shown that video recordings reduce both complaints and the use of force.
From an earlier blog post: “a 12-month study by Cambridge University researchers revealed that when the city of Rialto, California, required its cops to wear cameras, the number of complaints filed against officers fell by 88 percent and the use of force by officers dropped by almost 60 percent. Watched cops are polite cops.”
Update: Today the White House announced that it would provide $263 million for police departments to obtain 50,000 body cameras and training. I certainly think that this is a better use of federal money than providing small town police departments with tanks.