Last updated on: 2/27/2024 | Author: ProCon.org

Should Police Officers Wear Body Cameras?

Police body cameras (also called body-worn cameras) are small cameras worn on a law enforcement officer’s chest or head to record interactions between the officer and the public. The cameras have a microphone to capture sound and internal data storage to save video footage for later review. According to the Bureau of Justice Assistance, “[t]he video and audio recordings from BWCs [body-worn cameras] can be used by law enforcement to demonstrate transparency to their communities; to document statements, observations, behaviors, and other evidence; and to deter unprofessional, illegal, and inappropriate behaviors by both law enforcement and the public.” For more on police body cameras, explore the ProCon debate.

PRO (yes)

Pro

Joe Biden:

“Mandates the adoption of body-worn camera policies. The EO [executive order] orders all Federal LEAs [law enforcement agencies] to adopt and publicly post body-worn camera policies that mandate activation of cameras during activities like arrests and searches and provide for the expedited public release of footage following incidents involving serious bodily injury or deaths in custody.”

Editors’ Note: On May 25, 2022, President Biden issued an executive order, Executive Order on Advancing Effective, Accountable Policing and Criminal Justice Practices to Enhance Public Trust and Public Safety, that requires federal law enforcement agencies to comply with the June 7, 2021, Deputy Attorney General’s order for federal law enforcement officers to wear body cameras for certain situations such as arrests and the execution of search

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White House, “FACT SHEET: President Biden to Sign Historic Executive Order to Advance Effective, Accountable Policing and Strengthen Public Safety,” whitehouse.gov, May 25, 2022

CON (no)

Not Clear or Not Found

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr:

No position found as of Jan. 18, 2024

Donald Trump:

“Some of these [police] departments have plenty of money, and some of them don’t. And if they like the idea of the cameras, they need federal funding. It can solve a lot of problems for police. It can also solve a lot of problems – period…. [But] different police departments feel different ways.”

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Ben Jacobs, “Donald Trump Tells the Guardian Police Body Cameras ‘Need Federal Funding,'” theguardian.com, Oct. 13, 2015