Police Body Cameras

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Today's Police Put On a Gun and a Camera
Author: Johnson, Kirk ProQuest document link Abstract: Liability-conscious city attorneys say the cameras could help in lawsuits; rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, say police accountability will be bolstered by another layer of public documentation; and the Justice Department, surveying 63 police departments that were using body cameras and many others that were not, concluded in a report this month that the technology had the potential to "promote the perceived legitimacy and sense of procedural justice" in interactions between the public and law enforcement. Links: Linking Service Full text: PULLMAN, Wash. -- Amateur videos of police officers doing their jobs have
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"If they don't yell it, is everything on there now the fruit of the poisonous tree?" asked Sgt. Peter Simpson, a spokesman for the Portland police department, referring to the legal doctrine that improperly gathered evidence can taint an entire case and may not be used in court. The Portland department is testing body cameras on six officers, with plans for a departmentwide rollout. Here in Washington State, which has one of the nation's most vigorous public records laws, the Seattle police are wrestling with whether video can be posted online almost immediately, as a nearly real-time documentary, and how to blur or obscure images to protect the identities of victims or informers. A pilot project that had been set for the summer was postponed partly because of questions about how public access to the recordings would work. Storage, management and retrieval of the collected data create mammoth questions of their own. Private companies like Taser International offer document storage services, along with the cameras, batteries, docking stations and software, but state laws vary widely about how long criminal records must be stored, from a few years for most misdemeanors to in perpetuity for major felonies. And as Pullman and other police departments are finding, people often request multiple videos. That is
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