Salt Lake City might be joining the ranks of police departments around the country that have been increasingly looking into on-officer cameras.
According to the Salt Lake City Tribune, police chief Chief Chris Burbank said it is his hope that officers will someday wear glasses equipped with a camera, which would provide footage, quite literally, of what the cop sees.
To WCSH6 Burbank said, ”What better way to document the entire event than an officer wear a camera that sees what the officer sees?”
The city is looking into the Taser AXON Flex, which cost between $1,000 to $2,000. The local NBC affiliate said the technology would provide “cops-eye view” footage. Watch the report:
A camera on the officer’s body would not only reveal more about his or her actions while on duty, but also the emotions seen on the faces of people they talk to and the area directly around them when they’re outside of the cruiser. Taser Founder and CEO Rick Smith spoke more about the benefits such a system could have, as reported by the Tribune:
Smith said any use of force is inherently high risk and controversial.
He said there are often differing accounts of what led an officer to use force in a particular situation and equipping them with cameras will help with investigations and retroactive reviews of decisions that were made, he said.
“It holds everybody accountable,” Smith said.
Burbank too said that it could increase efficiency in the office since it could reduce time spent investigating officer complaints. Any complaints made against an officer would be measurable against the video evidence.
Still, there are issues that would need to be worked out when it comes to the privacy of both the officer and the citizens, as well as public access to video footage. Last year, TheBlaze brought you similar technology being pilot tested by a couple cities but also the privacy concerns that were brought up. Here’s what we included from The Denver Post at the time:
“This sort of recording is a double-edged sword,” said John Verdi, senior counsel at the Washington, D.C.-based Electronic Privacy Information Center. “They can be valuable law enforcement tools and also demonstrate when and how police are complying or not complying with appropriate procedures. At the same time, the recordings made in the course of everyday (duty) are not the sort of things you want available to the public, and this does open them up to the public.”
Burbank said the department is in the early stages of looking into this technology for their officers. The Tribune reported that he would like 250 devices so each officer who interacts with the public would have one. Ultimately though, WCSH6 reported Burbank saying if Salt Lake City makes a move in this direction, he expects every police department in the state would do so as well.
The Tribune reported Smith saying that 2,000 officers nationwide have the light-weight cameras.
Watch this video from Taser showcasing the technology:
(H/T: Popular Science)