YEO Policy Books 2015 Policy Book - Page 53

Mandating Use of Body Cameras & Establishing Proper Usage Origin: City Council of Boston, Massachusetts Bill Name/Number: Ordinance 0279 Link: Click here Summary: Introduced at the beginning of 2015, this body camera ordinance was drafted by the community advocacy group Boston Police Camera Action Team, the Harvard Black Law Students Association, and Boston Councilmember Charles Yancey and supported by both the NAACP and the ACLU. Talking Points & Important Information: • While not a panacea for community-police relations and concerns of police brutality, body and dashboard cameras provide an additional layer of transparent accountability. Body-mounted police cameras help protect the public against police misconduct while at the same time help protect police against false accusations of abuse. In 2013, a researcher who undertook the first experimental evaluation of body-mounted cameras in Rialto, California, found a 50 percent reduction in the use of force incidents with police and an 88 percent drop in the number of civilian complaints against police officers. • According to the Police Foundation, a voluminous body of research across various disciplines has shown that when humans become self-conscious about being watched, they often alter their conduct. Evidence further suggests that individuals who are aware that they are being observed often embrace socially-desirable behavior, particularly when the observer is a rule-enforcing entity. • On the flipside, the American Constitution Society finds that any use of police body cameras must be accompanied by strong, stringently enforced policies and practices – particularly when it comes to preventing surveillance of First Amendment-protected activities, safeguarding expectations of privacy in one’s own home, honoring individual requests not to record interactions, giving notice to subjects being recorded, and deleting footage that is not flagged for review. 2015 POLICY BOOK LOCAL INTRO LEVEL PAGE 53