Cops squeal over collar-cams, but use of force drops 60 percent

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It’s an ancient dilemma voiced as early as the first century: Qui custodiet ipsos custodies?, meaning “Who guards the guardians?” A modern day version is, “Who polices the police?”

In other words, when a group of people is given power and special privileges with that power, who will make sure they do not abuse that power, or do not get away with it? After all, power corrupts, et al, and power finds ways to insulate its corruption from accountability.

Traditionally, when police powers are abused, people mainly can only file complaints with the department—the very institution responsible for the infraction. Sometimes, such complaints lead to “official investigations,” which in only a few cases lead to any action being taken. Not to mention, it’s a long and slow process full of obstacles for the citizen. Police know this, and those who chose to abuse their power are not too deterred by it.

But it looks like a new alternative has some answers. An experiment in Rialto, California required half of on-duty police officers to wear a small collar-cam designed to record at the personal level every interaction officers have with citizens. The results were stark:

Rialto’s police officers also used force nearly 60 percent less often — in 25 instances, compared with 61. When force was used, it was twice as likely to have been applied by the officers who weren’t wearing cameras during that shift, the study found.

Read the rest at American Vision

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