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NYPD Starts Body Camera Pilot Program 170

Posted by Soulskill
from the every-step-you-take-every-move-you-make dept.
An anonymous reader writes: In the wake of the Michael Brown shooting, calls for continuous recording of all police activity have become loud and strenuous. Now, one of the biggest police forces in the world will begin testing body cameras. The New York Police Department announced a pilot program to test the wearable cameras in high-crime districts. "[T]he participation of the New York department, with its 35,000 uniformed members and vast footprint on the country's policing policy, could permanently shift the balance in favor of the cameras, which both civil libertarians and many police chiefs have cited as a way to improve relations between citizens and law enforcement, particularly in heavily policed minority communities." The NYPD will be testing hardware from two manufacturers: Vievu and Taser International. While the 60-camera pilot program will get running for about $60,000, IT costs are expected to quickly outstrip that amount.
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NYPD Starts Body Camera Pilot Program

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  • by gurps_npc (621217) on Friday September 05, 2014 @10:18AM (#47834231) Homepage
    To make sure that NYC is not Ferguson.

    He has a couple of "meet the police" fairs, which I never saw before.

    He has done everything right that Ferguson did wrong.

    Now, the NYC police is not perfect, but at least they are actively attempting to do a better job, rather than attempting to prove how 'tough' they are.

    The police have a hard job and the violent nature of their business tends to make certain foolish people think their job is to be as powerful as possible.

    Glad to see that NYC is moving in the right direction.

    • It's certainly subjectively good. But I think it's also an important case for monitoring data wise to see the objective value of these things. My hope is that it's a net positive for every important metric, because an even slightly mixed bag of results could be enough to talk a lot of departments out of the idea.

      • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Friday September 05, 2014 @02:11PM (#47836329)

        It's certainly subjectively good. But I think it's also an important case for monitoring data wise to see the objective value of these things. My hope is that it's a net positive for every important metric, because an even slightly mixed bag of results could be enough to talk a lot of departments out of the idea.

        I agree. That's why I think it's important that ground rules be firmly established.

        For one thing, camera use must not be discretionary. It must be used every time there is an interaction with citizens. Because otherwise, there is too much potential for them to be used only when it is in their favor, and at other times, "Oops, I forgot to turn it on."

        So if a camera is not turned on, or data is missing or shown to be deleted, a serious inquiry should be made to determine the actual reason why.

        Why do I insist on this? Because I was once a victim of "missing" camera footage. I was told everything was being recorded, and the light on the camera was on. But when it came time to go to court and testify, they claimed there was no recording and it had "never existed".

        Which was complete bullshit, of course.

        Never mind what it was all about. It was a non-criminal charge and despite their bullshit stories I was not convicted. But "I forgot to turn it on" is too easy of a bullshit abuse of authority.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I've said before and I'll say again -- the cop cams must, MUST be subject to the missing evidence rule: If the footage is not available, regardless of reason, the court shall assume that the missing evidence is maximally against the cops.

    • by silfen (3720385)

      To make sure that NYC is not Ferguson.

      In what sense? The NYPD kills people all the time (they seem to be found guilty of misconduct more frequently than other police departments):

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/... [huffingtonpost.com]

      However, as elsewhere, the police killings appear to be representative of the population of suspects and perpetrators:

      http://www.motherjones.com/pol... [motherjones.com]

      • by blackraven14250 (902843) on Friday September 05, 2014 @11:27AM (#47834791)
        Of course it happens more frequently in NYC than elsewhere. It's a city with 8.4 million people, and 35,000 cops. The number of cops alone is larger than most towns. As an example, Ferguson, MO is only 21,000 people - there's 14,000 more cops alone in NYC, plus another 8.4 million people. Ferguson's entire population is literally a fucking rounding error relative to NYC's population.
        • by Firethorn (177587) on Friday September 05, 2014 @11:53AM (#47834973) Homepage Journal

          I was going to chime in with pretty much the same deal - the NYPD has about 4k more people than Juneau, the capital of Alaska.

          On the topic of the IT costs - 60 cameras and associated gear for $60k sounds about right for hardware cost alone. IT costs, if you're counting labor it's going to cost more than that to obtain a person with a background in security video and preferably justice in the first quarter alone. Then you start looking at storing all the video...

          Given the task, I'd probably go with the netflix solution - lots of hard drives. Speed isn't really required since the video will only be pulled up if there's a question, and any video pulled up is more likely to be viewed again, so if the main array starts getting too slow, put a caching SSD in as necessary. There's going to be just too much video to justify SSD storage. Heck, off-line tapes would be an eventual step if the program expands.

          On the topic of the CAMERAS. From various places such as Canada deploying them, I've heard that rates of both assault of police officers AND allegations of police misconduct, verified and unverified both dropped with the introduction of the cameras. To me at least, it seems that people tend to 'be on their best behavior' when they know they're being recorded. It's just that to keep the 'bad' cops* from turning them off or such you need to regularly review the records and punish improper shut downs and/or abuse of the equipment. Get it to the point that 'turned off the camera' counts less as lack of evidence and more evidence that you concealed/destroyed evidence.

          *Many of whom I think belong in prison.

          • by guruevi (827432)

            That's a $1000/camera before IT costs, that seems a tad excessive although it's well within range of any government program. You can get fully functional camcorders for $100.

            • by myth24601 (893486) on Friday September 05, 2014 @01:48PM (#47836125)

              Money can be shunted away from buying SWAT gear toward the cameras.

            • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

              by Anonymous Coward

              Worth bearing in mind that if it's going to be used by the police, it's going to much high specification.

              No, I'm not talking image quality - I'm talking about battery life, weight, reliability, and robustness. Cheap consumer stuff tends to be bulky, have a high power draw, be vulnerable to being sheocked, dropped or crushed, and doesn't tend to do well in adverse weather conditions. If you think about what the police actually do with these things, their requirements aren't that far off of military grade - t

          • by silfen (3720385)

            I was going to chime in with pretty much the same deal - the NYPD has about 4k more people than Juneau, the capital of Alaska.

            And that is relevant to what I was saying ... how?

            • by Firethorn (177587)

              Get a big enough police department and you can expect incidents.

              Let's say you have a murder rate of 1 in 100k people. Pretty good. A village of 1k people should expect 1 murder every 100 years. A city of 10M will be averaging a murder almost every 3 days.

              You're just as likely to be murdered in either area; but which will be known for murder?

              • by silfen (3720385)

                You're missing the point. My comment wasn't about the absolute number of incidents in NYC (obviously, a big city is going to have more than a small city), but I observed as an aside that an unusually large proportion of incidents in NYC actually involve police misconduct (as opposed to justifiable use of force).

                Nevertheless, as I also pointed out, even in NYC, police misconduct is representative of the population of suspects and perpetrators.

        • by cayenne8 (626475) on Friday September 05, 2014 @12:26PM (#47835249) Homepage Journal
          And for the Ferguson thing....let's take a wait and see attitude to see what the evidence presents as what really happened.

          So far, the kid seems to possibly not be quite as innocent as originally depicted by the news and Al Sharpton types....

          So, at this point, best to wait and see what the evidence and witnesses show as what happened that day.

          • by Ol Olsoc (1175323)

            And for the Ferguson thing....let's take a wait and see attitude to see what the evidence presents as what really happened.

            So far, the kid seems to possibly not be quite as innocent as originally depicted by the news and Al Sharpton types....

            So, at this point, best to wait and see what the evidence and witnesses show as what happened that day.

            Of course the guy wasn't "innocent". He apparently stole some cigars.

            But here's the thing. It is not the policeman's job to mete out justice by death, and the death penalty is probably never justifiable for stealing cigars. Can you think of any reason you should be killed for that? Even if you resisted arrest, would you prefer being tased, or shot and killed.

            How much "wait and see" would you accept if it was a son of yours who was killed for stealing some cigars? Or would you say, "Hey, it's a hard jo

        • by silfen (3720385)

          Of course it happens more frequently in NYC than elsewhere

          I didn't say that "it happens more frequently in NYC", I said "they seem to be found guilty of misconduct more frequently than other police departments". Are you too dumb to understand the difference?

    • $10,000 per camera (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bussdriver (620565)

      If you, the reader, has any experience with office politics or politics you know the popular underhanded technique of supporting something while undermining it.

      Overhead, corruption, and incompetence are too often used as an excuse; many times it IS simply an underhanded attack by the "supporters." When NYPD spends $60,000 while saying it's going to cost more for only 60 cameras there are people involved who WANT it to be as expensive as possible of a deterrent. A high profile test group like NYPD will get

      • by dj245 (732906) on Friday September 05, 2014 @11:24AM (#47834757) Homepage

        If you, the reader, has any experience with office politics or politics you know the popular underhanded technique of supporting something while undermining it.

        Overhead, corruption, and incompetence are too often used as an excuse; many times it IS simply an underhanded attack by the "supporters." When NYPD spends $60,000 while saying it's going to cost more for only 60 cameras there are people involved who WANT it to be as expensive as possible of a deterrent. A high profile test group like NYPD will get cited all over the nation. Given how badly it is needed and demanded by the public, the costs are going to have to be high to deter widespread common use. Despite how actually cheap it would be - I bet their flash lights cost more... I had a cheap pen camera from china that was in that price range; it didn't last long or store much video but that was 6 years ago.

        This is also where greedy capitalism comes in because that is all about how much the market is willing to pay--- and they've got to make sure this is a niche market so it doesn't have to compete with the extremely cheap mainstream market.

        Sure, the way public budgets are managed is they take all projected costs (on the high side) then divide them out in ways that makes things like this seem like it's $10,000 a camera -- and one can sometimes spot the traitors because they'll focus on such false estimates.

        Now it could be this is a totally honest move by NYPD and their high costs are because they are preparing for a full scale deployment with this just being a testing group. I'm just too cynical to take things at face value... wonder if any reporters exist who can hang around enough to pick up on such things anymore.

        Hint- Industrial type equipment designed for daily rough use is expensive. I have a Motorola Pro5150 radio on my desk here which apparently costs about $400 [secosy.com] (finding an actual price on this thing isn't easy) depending on which model it is. For a radio. But it is built like a tank, designed very well, and looks a lot like what police departments use. A wearable camera built like this radio costing $1000 each might be expensive, but it wouldn't be absurdly expensive.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by cayenne8 (626475)
          Hmm...as a citizen, I wonder if I wear a number of HIGH powered IR LED's on my hat/person, if that would blind out these officer cameras?

          I've been dying to find out if surrounding my license plate on my car, would fsck up the video from the speeding/stoplight cameras too....easily viewable to naked human eye, but blind out the cameras.

          Hmm...sound like a fun weekend project.

          • by sabri (584428)

            I wonder if I wear a number of HIGH powered IR LED's on my hat/person, if that would blind out these officer cameras?

            You mean like this [boingboing.net]?

            This German exibition is showcasing bright infrared LED devices that overwhelm the CCDs in security cameras, allowing you to move through modern society in relative privacy. I used this as a gimmick in my story I, Robot -- now I want to own one!

          • by boristdog (133725)

            Let me know your results for toll road cameras. For...uh...science, yeah.

          • by BitZtream (692029)

            No, infrared filters are standard now on cameras that aren't meant to be easily fooled.

            That hasn't worked in years.

      • by Firethorn (177587) on Friday September 05, 2014 @12:07PM (#47835075) Homepage Journal

        When NYPD spends $60,000 while saying it's going to cost more for only 60 cameras there are people involved who WANT it to be as expensive as possible of a deterrent.

        As somebody who once worked in government purchasing, $60k for 60 cameras didn't even make me blink at the expense, to the point that I was figuring it's equipment expenses alone, not including labor and such.

        Let's start with the camera: $399 [taser.com]
        One mounted on a pair of glasses: $599
        Miscellaneous:
        Dock hardware (price not listed), a few different mounting options(price not listed), etc...

        IT costs, well I figure the NYPD will want to set up it's own solution but the same company offers cloud storage specifically for the video with the necessary bells and whistles for chain of evidence/custody at evidence.com: [taser.com] Starts at $15/month, though I wouldn't see the NYPD going for less than the 'Pro' Package at $39/month per officer(because that includes redaction and agency reports), and it could go as high as $55.

        That's $468/year for storage, putting us right at $1k for the glasses and storage** for 1 year, and we don't even have anybody administering the program yet!

      • by MobyDisk (75490)

        http://www.vievu.com/vievu-sto... [vievu.com]
        The $1,000 price is totally reasonable. Start with a ruggedized HD camera: a few hundred dollars to start. Now add a battery that can last all day in any weather - that's pricey. Now add that it can record video all day - that's quite a bit of flash in a small space. Put a wearable mount on it. Now add a lot of security features. Lastly, get it certified. I think they did okay.

      • by Ravaldy (2621787)

        The price tag is important but what is more important is that people that are given high levels of power are also held accountable for abuse. The presence of a camera alone will deter cops from applying excessive force and abusing their power. Some say this was tried in LA and failed but only because it wasn't properly implemented.

        I think the cost of the equipment will be offset by the reduction of abuse and crime tied to police. I cannot provide proof but I can almost guarantee society as a whole will bene

    • Don't confuse a PR campaign for how they actually feel about their fellow citizens.
    • by CODiNE (27417)

      Some smaller police departments give out trading cards of the officers to kids.

      I remember it was pretty hard to get them as each officer only gave out his/her own cards at parks and schools. Still I managed to acquire one of only two known complete sets from my hometown when I was a kid.

      Forcing positive social interaction can help lessen the "us vs them" mentality. Plus officers get a sense of pride if people know them by name and care more about their reputation.

    • by Krishnoid (984597) on Friday September 05, 2014 @02:04PM (#47836271) Journal

      To make sure that NYC is not Ferguson.

      He has a couple of "meet the police" fairs, which I never saw before.

      He has done everything right that Ferguson did wrong.

      Now, the NYC police is not perfect, but at least they are actively attempting to do a better job, rather than attempting to prove how 'tough' they are. ...

      This initiative [theonion.com], in particular, is unusually progressive.

  • HA! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheCarp (96830) <sjcNO@SPAMcarpanet.net> on Friday September 05, 2014 @10:18AM (#47834237) Homepage

    I am normally against increasing the number of cameras around and being under surveillance all the time. That said, I think NYC needs this to finnally start putting nails in the coffin of their stop and frisk program. Finally either one of two things HAS to happen: Either they collect massive amounts of evidence about how they have been stopping random people and trumping up charges, or.... the number of incidents must go down. Either way, its progress.

    • by mysidia (191772)

      Either they collect massive amounts of evidence about how they have been stopping random people and trumping up charges, or.... the number of incidents must go down.

      I'm sure they'll have like a 15 day retention period, after which they'll destroy the footage so it can't be used against them.

      In practice the body cam footage will only be used to support their perspective, but only if there is a major public outcry about some incident; which will always be timely.

  • So they can't be blocked with a simple piece of tape. Because that that's gonna happen is just a no-brainer.

    • by tibit (1762298)

      Ahh, you think that most obscure tapes (think electrical tape) are IR-transparent? You're nuts.

    • by mysidia (191772)

      So they can't be blocked with a simple piece of tape. Because that that's gonna happen is just a no-brainer.

      I have a better idea: after their shift is over, analyze the footage after every day. For any time during the shift that their camera was active and working: their rate of pay will be higher.

      If their camera was malfunctioning or inactive for more than 60 minutes during the day, then their pay for the entire shift is reduced, and they get a warning.

      • by Cardoor (3488091)
        how's the weather in the all-logical-universe in which you live? good luck with that. last time i heard of a caesar threatening to cut the praetorian's pay...
  • by parallel_prankster (1455313) on Friday September 05, 2014 @10:24AM (#47834285)
    There have been numerous instances where the cops have reported "malfunctioning" devices to avoid providing videos of situations which may have provided incriminating evidence. Just yesterday there was news about how a guy fell from a cop car into the water below while handcuffed and the police couldn't provide any video evidence! Maybe there should be strict penalties for losing video recordings as well.
    • by Wootery (1087023)

      Maybe there should be strict penalties for losing video recordings as well.

      One can also view it as a problem with how the system works. The car cam, and proper treatment of its tapes, shouldn't be the responsibility of the officers in the car.

      If there were a designated 'cam tape librarian' for the department, and that person alone were allowed to manage the tapes, this stuff would presumably be much less of a problem. (Naturally, if tapes go missing, that should be enough to put the tape librarian's job on the line, and the don't screw with the tapes unless it's your job to rule w

      • by peragrin (659227)

        There shouldn't be tapes. The feed from those cams should be directly sent IA. It can them be used as needed to clear officers.

        Local storage is an issue.

        • by CastrTroy (595695)
          There are 34000 uniformed officers in New York City, and they have 8800 cars. Lets assume that there are 5000 officers working at any one time (that's probably understimating it). Let's say it's 1 mbit/s to get decent video recording. That means the generate 51 TB of data every day. That's 18 petabytes a year. That becomes a storage problem really fast.
          • by Wootery (1087023)

            Except you don't need to store the videos indefinitely. I imagine a couple of months is long enough. It's a pretty huge amount of data, but I'm sure it's not that hard to cope with a couple of petabytes of simple video files. That's on the order of a thousand hard-disks full (not counting redundancy), and there's no fancy database requirements here, just a huge pile of videos indexed by car ID and day.

            Anyway, I don't think peragrin was saying anything to the contrary, but was instead just suggesting IA coul

            • by queazocotal (915608) on Friday September 05, 2014 @12:05PM (#47835057)

              18 petabytes a year isn't much.
              Taking the assumption above that there are 5000 cameras working at once.
              They are paid around $35/hour. This would make the wage bill 1.5 billion. Budget is $5B - so this seems order of magnitude right.
              18 petabytes, on amazon redshifts '$1000/tbyear' is only $18M.
              It seems quite plausible to get that to $5m without trying really hard.

              Perhaps more important than storage, is access.
              It should be possible to say 'show me a list of officers and car cameras within 1000 yards of 1 WTC between 8Am and 9am last friday'.

              And yes - this implies the cameras must have GPS too.

          • by ganjadude (952775)
            i think 30 days prior to purging is fair (obviously unless the tape is being used.) Also a lot of tape can get trimmed as there is no need to keep the tape when the officers are not making contact. Still a nightmare, but better than what we have now which is nothing more than he said she said
            • by Firethorn (177587)

              That still requires somebody to review all the daily tapes and purge non-interaction times, and you don't want the officers doing it themselves. Even if you have a guy doing it mostly on fast forward, that's 1 reviewer for every 10 cops or so.

              It'd probably be cheaper to just store everything, and no, I don't think 30 days is anywhere near enough given how long it can take to generate a court case and have the records subpoenaed. I'd consider 90 days the bare minimum.

              • by ganjadude (952775)
                i just chose 30 as a number but yeah I agree that 30 may be too short for that very reason.

                on the other hand im sure software can be written where as for example no one is talking to anyone - delete this section, no one is moving - delete this section, there is no audio being captured - delete thiss ection

                In no way perfect and simplified for argument sake, but im sure software could be written to handle it
                • by Firethorn (177587)

                  In no way perfect and simplified for argument sake, but im sure software could be written to handle it

                  It can, but then the question becomes - how much can the automated tools cut safely? I imagine that a police body camera is going to always have a fair bit of motion associated with it. If they're standing around they're generally talking. Even slight shifts of the body can present lots of motion to the camera, etc...

                  I'm not saying that it can't be done, but it'd be complex programmatically and couldn't cut as much as a live review because you'd need to keep the parameters loose to avoid false negatives.

              • by azadrozny (576352)

                Some automated tools could be applied. For example, the audio could be scanned for gun shots, or other loud noises (signs of a struggle), which triggers an automatic hold on that video. The real trick is going to be dealing with the FOIA requests. I could see where the police would want to review and possibly redact sensitive video, such as a conversation with a confidential informant. That means if I make a request for all the video from an officer for the last 90 days, or all officers on duty during a

                • by Firethorn (177587)

                  You can, but how long before the gun shots do you record? Personally, I think 1 gunshot should be enough to more or less permanently archive the whole day, same with any 'serious' incident.

                  But yeah, after 90 days or so, go through and kill off meaningless portions of the video, but I figure that any automated tools are going to have to be set fairly loose, leaving lots of irrelevant stuff in there in order to make sure to keep the relevant stuff. Having watched some police video, they're nearly always in

          • by jabuzz (182671)

            If you think that 18Pb of data is a massive storage problem then I have news for you it is not, and can be done in a handful of racks these days. Of course you would probably archive anything over six months old to tape so you could easily store a few decades worth.

            Really 18Pb is small beer these days.

            • by CastrTroy (595695)
              It may be peanuts to a company like Google that is used to dealing with large amounts of data. But to an organization like NYPD which isn't used to handling such large amounts of data, and it becomes a problem. Do they try to manage it internally? Do they contract it out to someone else? We saw how well that worked for Obamacare.
        • Screw IA, they're police themselves. Put it in the hands of a non-paid but elected group of citizens to store and review. That way you eliminate the potential for the police to alter / destroy evidence.
    • by Dan667 (564390)
      constantly stream to the web and 6 months no pay, no exceptions if it the body camera is not working. Problem fixed.
  • by nimbius (983462) on Friday September 05, 2014 @10:43AM (#47834411) Homepage
    When Eric Garner was choked to death by NYPD cops, cameraphones were rolling to capture the event. when they shot dead a man on 37th street for brandishing a knife, video was taken through bystanders. two years ago when a cop shot a homeless mans dog in East Village there was plenty of footage from bystanders. 11 months ago when the NYPD fired haphazardly into a crowd of people to control a single disorderly man, there was quite a bit of footage. when the NYPD dragged a nude grandmother from her apartment last month, plenty of cameraphones picked up the action.

    Strapping a camera to a police officer at this point is moot. its designed to deflect attention from the routine use of disproportionate force against the citizens theyre charged with protecting. the actual issue the NYPD needs to deal with is either burned out or unfit for duty officers. Rookies fresh from Afghanistan and 10 year veterans with a calloused trigger finger need training, counseling, and support to help correct a systemic 'us vesus them' mentality. PTSD evaluations and regular, significant performance reviews should be a part of every officers career and something the police union should champion first. Strapping a go-pro to your departments beat-cops will result in either a glut of abuse evidence or no footage at all. Do not promote unfit officers to higher ranks either; the glut of stonewalled or ignored FOIA requests is evidence this is a bad practice.
    • by disposable60 (735022) on Friday September 05, 2014 @10:59AM (#47834529) Journal

      Those cameraphones capture late-stage action and aftermath. The bodycams should capture the leadup and escalation that are really needed for an impartial/fair evaluation of the event. The events you cite do sound damning, but more footage would be helpful in evaluating the encounter. Knowing that footage exists helps, too - if only to slow the officer's reach for applied violence.

      Y'know, if I've got that cellphone app that streams direct to the cloud for protection from abuse of power, can't the bodycams do the same thing? Local-only data is too vulnerable to loss or abuse.

      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        I would hate to imagine the data bill that would be incurred from uploading all that data, It would probably be a couple gigabytes, per shift. NYC has a lot of police officers. Also, there's a lot of cases where there would be no cellular connection, like in subway trains, or under bridges. Certain buildings do a pretty good job of cutting off cell reception in the elevators. All the tall buildings in New York create quite a few dead zones, or at least places with less than optimal signal levels which w
      • by Drethon (1445051)
        Also did the cops in those incidents even notice the cameras on them?
    • by gurps_npc (621217)
      You fail to understand the difference between spot detection and permanent detection.

      If you sample one out of every 100 cars, all you are really doing is determining if a problem exists, not actually fixing the problem. Not even if you fix the randomly selected problem cars. You still need a separate program to analyze the manufacturing problems causing the defects then fix the problem, if it exists.

      But having someone check ALL the cards, allows you to remove the bad ones and fix them before you sell t

    • by Totenglocke (1291680) on Friday September 05, 2014 @12:05PM (#47835065)
      I'm sure plenty of people here will be outraged by this, but the fastest way to fix issues with police brutality / police corruption is to ban police unions. The union always fights tooth and nail to keep bad officers from being fired and in the rare instance where a bad cop does lose their job, the union frequently tries to get them reinstated (like Officer Harless from Canton, OH who was fired after public outrage over video of him threatening to murder a man pulled over for a traffic stop).
    • by Salgat (1098063)
      ...why not both?
  • by Dr. Manhattan (29720) <sorceror171@GIRA ... minus herbivore> on Friday September 05, 2014 @10:52AM (#47834479) Homepage
    Is it the police only? Defense lawyers with a subpoena? The public? There's this:

    Officers would be permitted to view video they recorded before making statements in cases where their conduct was questioned

    I would vastly prefer they make statements without access to the video. Seeing the video allows them to craft a story that fits what was recorded, and leave out or invent things that weren't picked up. If they don't know exactly what the cameras saw, they have to stick much closer to the truth.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jd.schmidt (919212)
      Why, have you never remembered an event wrong? The behavior of everyone will be plain to see on the video, by contrast every lawyer knows the trick of picking out one detail someone got wrong and spinning that into proof that everything they say is a lie.
      • by Dr. Manhattan (29720) <sorceror171@GIRA ... minus herbivore> on Friday September 05, 2014 @12:26PM (#47835251) Homepage

        Why, have you never remembered an event wrong?

        Sure I have. So what? If police misremember the event, is that somehow not relevant?

        The behavior of everyone will be plain to see on the video

        That was actually caught on video, that is. As I explicitly pointed out. I spoke - direct quote here - about the ability "to craft a story that fits what was recorded, and leave out or invent things that weren't picked up". What happened before, or just offscreen? Police are known to claim that someone was "reaching for a gun" - even when it didn't happen [informatio...ration.com]. But if the camera angle is bad, they will know they can claim that regardless of what they actually remember.

        every lawyer knows the trick of picking out one detail someone got wrong and spinning that into proof that everything they say is a lie

        But... but... if "The behavior of everyone will be plain to see on the video", how could a lawyer get away with that?

        Frankly, I consider that a feature, not a bug, anyway. Eyewitness testimony really is ureliable. 'Bout time juries learned that applies to police too.

        • Let's be clear, does the policeman misremembering and event change what actually happened in anyway? If not then I guess, NO it isn't relevant. Look, you are making a leap that is very normal for people to make, but still incorrect. What is being unsaid is that you are accusing either side of lying to cover up and thus the lying person must be a bad person worthy of punishment for that reason, or at least unreliable in some other way. Someone mentioned that the defendant should be given access to eviden
          • Let's be clear, does the policeman misremembering and event change what actually happened in anyway?

            Doesn't change the event itself, no - but a pattern of errors can speak volumes about intent and state of mind. And many crimes (and torts) depend on intent and belief. So, note, do many defenses.

            What is being unsaid is that you are accusing either side of lying to cover up and thus the lying person must be a bad person worthy of punishment for that reason

            No. I am, in fact, relying on the deterrent effect

            • Look at it this way, it is not like the Cop is going to forgot about the camera on them, there will already be a deterrence. However I think there is a real danger of honest mistakes being abused, and like I said most of the abuses I know about used those.
      • by MobyDisk (75490) on Friday September 05, 2014 @01:21PM (#47835843) Homepage

        If the person sees video of the event, THEN gives their testimony, it largely defeated the purpose of the testimony. You want to know what they remember, tainted by their emotions and perceptions at the time. If the testimony is merely a narration of of the video it told you nothing new. And if one of the people is lying, you won't catch them if you give them a chance to see what the camera caught.

        Perhaps they need to give testimony, then watch the video, then have the opportunity to revise it. But both should be admissible as evidence.

        • Cops use that logic and technique to railroad innocent people all the time, it should not happen to defendants or cops either. Really, watch some of the documentaries about people "confessing" to crimes.
    • by houghi (78078)

      If they don't know exactly what the cameras saw, they have to stick much closer to the truth.

      You can't handle the truth! Son, we live in a world that has walls. And those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinberg? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that Santiago's death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my exis

  • by ArcadeMan (2766669) on Friday September 05, 2014 @10:55AM (#47834505)

    "The participation of the New York department, with its 35,000 uniformed members... While the 60-camera pilot program will get running for about $60,000, IT costs are expected to quickly outstrip that amount.

    So, 0.171428571429% of the NYPD will have a body camera. And as nimbius said above, it's not a problem of monitoring, it's a problem of psychology and mindset. It seems police officers think of themselves as soldiers fighting enemy forces instead of officers serving and protecting the public.

    • by Firethorn (177587)

      Actually, reports from Canada is that cameras DO reduce the number of offenses, reducing assaults both on and by officers.

      With the cameras you have a better chance of catching said burned out people before they're pulling the trigger of their firearm...

      *They'll need a few spares to replace those lost, stolen, or destroyed beyond warranty repair/replacement.

  • This should help. For really incriminating behavior, I would expect the cameras to "malfunction" most of the time. But for ordinary, day-to-day contact with the public, it will be a lot easier to just not act like a complete asshole than to hide the evidence later.

  • When these cameras are used to feed a policeman's AR glasses and are running full-time face recognition, gait analysis and LPR along with a comms interface, you're going to have hivemind supercops, not necessarily a good thing with a so very imperfect set of laws.

    • by Krishnoid (984597)

      ... not necessarily a good thing with a so very imperfect set of laws.

      Maybe it'll then point the finger towards the need to reform the laws themselves; assuming that better enforcement of an imperfect set of laws reveals more underlying problems.

  • Yes, police body cameras are far from a perfect solution. They're a definite improvement, though, both for citizens, and for honest police officers. Certainly, they won't record all interactions, and you might have situations where the camera "malfunctioned." That "malfunction" is going to create questions in and of itself, though. If you're an attorney suing the city over a complaint of police brutality, and the officer claims that, during the time your client claims he was being mistreated, the camera

    • This could also help with corrupt cops, ones on the dole you know? wont be able to try and bribe a cop if hes wearing a camera
      • by BitZtream (692029)

        No, you just do it when he's not on duty ... kind of like they do now. Perhaps its time to lay off the smoke man

        • by ganjadude (952775)
          well yeah its not perfect, but you wont see the cops enforcing the corruption with the shield any longer
  • I know next to nothing about what is required to inventory, issue, use, download, store, index, and recall all the hardware and video that would be required for such a system. I can only speculate. Has anyone had experience in this realm? Creating massive databases for video or images and indexing them in such a way that police reports could be tied directly to them and be pulled up as necessary?

    If so, in your perfect world, how would you build the system and how much would it cost?

  • The cop cameras will presumably have evidential and tamper resistant design.
    if you're concerned about off-camera and camera broken incidents - it would be interesting if you could also purchase one of them.

  • Better get some for Houston too

    "Houston police shot to death a double amputee in a wheelchair who they said was trying to stab an officer with a pen."

    http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/23/... [cnn.com]

    You can't make this shit up.

  • I honestly expected to see the camera's priced at like $20,000 each not because they need to be, just because of all the corruption fees all the way up.

    so kudos NYC i'm impressed 1k/camera is pretty close to reasonable.

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