Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) has a pretty good idea for improving police departments around the country. She wants to greatly increase the number of police wearing body cameras by making it a prerequisite for getting federal grants. From CNN:
Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill said Tuesday that police officers across the country should be required to wear body cameras in order for their departments to qualify for federal funds.
McCaskill believes that the ubiquity of cameras gives way to incidents in which only part of the story is recorded, seen or understood. So, a body camera on every officer will not only protect citizens against police misconduct, but also protect officers from wrongful accusations.
The research has shown this to be the case. Body cameras seem to make both the police and the public behave better. When police in Rialto, California began using the technology there was an 88 percent decline in public complaints against the police and nearly a 60 percent reduction in officers using force.
Body cameras alone aren’t going to fix what is wrong with policing in this country, that is the product of decades of terrible policies, but it should be a step in the right direction. Whether the issue goes anywhere or is forgotten as Congress switches to campaign mode for the next several months is yet to be seen.
Photo by Isadora Ruyter-Harcourt, used under Creative Commons license