With much public attention being brought to the actions of police officers in cases in New York and Ferguson, Missouri, many have expressed their frustrations with the current state of citizen-police relations. One solution to help citizens ensure that police encounters with civilians are faithfully documented is installing a video camera on the lapel of every officer in the country. These are called police “body cams.” Fortunately for Las Vegas residents, law enforcement in Southern Nevada have started using these cameras, which will hopefully level the playing field in terms of an officer’s words against their actions.
Will the cameras make a difference?
Already being used by officers in New York, Los Angeles, Denver and Phoenix, lapel video cameras aim to eliminate the ambiguity that comes from an officer explaining what occurred during dangerous situations. By holding police officers accountable for their actions and offering visual evidence of what actually occurs during an altercation, it is believed that law enforcement will perform their duties more carefully since everything they do is being recorded.
But how do we know if these cameras are actually making a difference? Researchers at the University of Nevada Las Vegas have implemented a plan to watch the footage from police officers over the next year, examining if officers wearing video recorders have made any changes in their interactions with citizens.
Cost of outfitting officers with recorders
While not all Las Vegas officers currently body-cams installed on their uniforms, Southern Nevada is well on its way way to outfitting all patrolmen with video cameras. With each video camera costing $500 apiece and expensive docking stations where footage can be uploaded coming in at roughly $400,000, it will take some time before every Metro police officer is outfitted with a recording device. It is estimated that the cost to provide the remainder of law enforcement with cameras and offer enough storage space to keep the many hours of footage will cost roughly $1.6 million.
We currently don’t know the impact that lapel video cameras have on a police officer’s actions around citizens, but at least there will always be evidence if all cops are outfitted with recording devices. For more information on your rights in the face of a police investigation, or for a reliable Las Vegas criminal defense attorney, contact Gabriel Grasso today at (702) 868-8866.