http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/03/14/chicago-vows-police-reforms-doj-aversion-to-consent-decrees/99189210/Chicago Police Reform
With domestic police violence constantly on the rise, and with extremely high gun violence in Chicago, the demand for reform is at an all- time high. However, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has shied away from these reforms in the pursuit of what the Trump administration considers to be bigger issues. In response to this, Chicago police have vowed to “bolster community policing, implement a field training officer for new cops, revise the department’s use of force policy and other changes in the months ahead”. With almost 900 murders and 4800 shooting victims in the last 14 months, Chicago is a delicate situation that has to be handled with care and vigilance.
During the Trump administration, there has been very little talk about police brutality, even though it has been one of the most widely publicized topics in the United States for the past five years. There have been cases where police officers have used unjust deadly force on a citizen and they were not punished for it. One of the biggest reasons for this is a lack of clarity about what actually happened during the altercation between the officer and the citizen.
In order to hold individuals in our police force accountable, all officers should be required to wear body worn cameras while they are on duty. The most obvious benefit of this would be that every officer’s actions would be monitored, which would reduce the amount of uncertainty when an incident happens. In cases where an officer uses deadly force, the footage from a body camera would help determine whether the force was justified or if the officer unjustly used force. It saddens me to think about the number of families that have been torn apart by police brutality, especially when their family member’s killer was not punished for their actions. Many of those victims could’ve received justice if the officer on duty was wearing a body camera.
When officers are forced to wear body cameras, they know their actions are being monitored and do not engage in misconduct as often. According to a study by Cambridge University, in seven areas that have already implemented the use of body worn cameras, there has been a dramatic decrease in the number of complaints against police officers. This shows that wearing body cameras causes officers to think twice before they act and have a higher accountability for their actions. In past police brutality cases, the officer may have thought twice before using deadly force if they knew their actions would be recorded. This could’ve saved the lives of countless Americans, especially those in the African American community.
Since the death of Michael Brown in 2014, there have been at least 2,756 people killed by police officers. How many more lives need to be lost before we realize our police system needs body cameras?