The social media revolution of the technology age allows nearly any event that would otherwise be considered mundane to be blown out of proportion. The newfound liberated spirit of youthful Americans in the 21st century thirsts for any reason to blame other authorities for their perceived oppression. Police brutality, a minor subject even 20 years ago, provides the perfect stimulant for media outlets to skew the story into appealing story lines for the public. In order to avoid courtroom catastrophes in such cases, technology like body cameras is being implemented into police forces across the nation. While the good word of an officer should be supportive and reliable enough, technology like body cameras would prove beneficial as they provide irrefutable visual evidence for a case while also allowing for transparency concerning police operations.
The United States judicial system, consisting of plaintiff and defendant parties, lawyers, judges, and juries, is the best of its kind in the world. With improved technology, however, it could be made even more efficient. Body-worn cameras have evidentiary benefits that expedite resolution of citizen complaints or lawsuits and that improve evidence for arrest and prosecution. Basically, the premise behind the use of body cameras for law enforcement is to limit the amount of discretion in a case. This is because of truly irrefutable evidence which leads to no question of innocence or guilt. Dr. Barak Ariel, lecturer of experimental criminology at the University of Cambridge, conducted an experiment concerning the effect that body cameras have on the social relations of law enforcement. Ariel claims that “This is a promising tool for police officers, which is likely to be a game changer not only for the professionalization of policing, but in terms of police-public relations.” The year-long study with the New York Police Department ultimately saw the number of complaints vastly diminish to a mere ten percent of the previous figures. This is because the evidence against the public is concrete, and highly trained lawyers cannot skew incriminating information to their client’s advantage. Juries make mistakes daily because of the convoluting arguments presented in courtrooms, and body cameras would put everything in plain sight… literally.
Body-worn cameras increase transparency and citizen views of police legitimacy. The impression of police officers in the modern-day United States of America seems to be one of contempt, but new technology could help improve that. Individuals appear to believe that police are not working for them but instead against them in every-day life. Not only would body cameras prove to advance the courtroom procedures concerning criminals, but also to support this reputation of the genuine, quality men and women patrolling our streets and highways. More tests of the technology’s effect on reducing police brutality allegations have been conducted than those concerning every-day operations, but that is soon to change. Several departments in California are beginning to broadcast live feeds of police body cameras. This shows the trust and support that both the department and the public have for their officers. The people of those communities can literally see their tax dollars at work while law enforcement protects them, all in real-time. That is the kind of team-oriented approach that will ultimately make police brutality a thing of the past. This new technology is a social weapon to ultimately improve the public relationship with authority and to truly show that law enforcement is there to protect and serve.
Technology is always changing and helping to improve the accessibility of one another. The same idea, applied in advanced criminology, will allow for more accurate courtroom proceedings and stronger conviction rates of both police and citizens that fall victim to police brutality. It will also aid officers in reestablishing the good name of law everywhere and to gain the trust of the public. The improved systematic judicial system, paired with a joint-effort from both law enforcement and involved citizens with this technology, will ultimately result in a safer, happier nation.