Require Police to Wear Cameras

I think Derek Thompson (writing for the Atlantic) has this exactly right: “Although military technology has arguably given law enforcement an unreasonable amount of power, there is another piece of technology that could help restrain the militarization of America’s police in the future: a camera.” Thompson discusses the case of Rialto, California, which outfitted officers with cameras in 2012. The results? Complaints against officers fell by 88 percent and “‘use of force’ fell by 59 percent,” he reports.

Given the great benefits of this technology and its relative low costs, why would any police force not do this? This shouldn’t even be optional; for whenever an officer is in contact with the public, state legislatures should require that all officers in their states always wear cameras, and Congress should require the same of all federal law enforcement officers. As I’ve said, such a policy would protect the public, and it would also protect good cops against false accusations.