Police body cameras the way to go

Citizen complaints against Cleveland police officers reportedly fell by 40 percent after the city spent $2.4 million to buy 1,500 body cameras for every front-line officer, according to Cleveland.com.

A study by the University Of Cambridge Institute Of Criminology showed that “when officers wore body cameras, incidents in which police used force dropped by 50 percent, and citizen complaints against officers were reduced by an amazing 90 percent.”

Closer to home, Wilmington Police Chief Duane Weyand has requested two body cameras for 2016 in his budget request. Weyand stated he wants body cameras for many reasons, including gathering evidence, managing risk, evaluating situations, adding accountability, protecting officers from false claims, as a cheaper alternative to dash cams, and because citizens expect them.

He also stated that it can help officers become better at what they do, as reviewing video could help from a training perspective.

Weyand hopes to add four more cameras in 2017. They will be worn during shifts and issued by shift sergeants.

The use of body cameras is not without concerns, including those related to privacy. But early reports demonstrate that the use of body cameras by police officers is very beneficial for many reasons, and we support their implementation locally.