YouTube Allows Police Departments to Show Their Version of the Story


Law enforcement agencies nationwide are embracing online video to cast doubt on false claims and offer their own perspective to the public. After years of seeing officers’ misconduct captured on video, police departments across the nation are trying to use the medium to their advantage, releasing footage of their own to rebut allegations and to build trust within communities, reports the Associated Press. Larger departments in cities such as Boston, Baltimore and Milwaukee have had YouTube channels for years. They often post surveillance video, updates on cases, messages from the chief and public-service announcements.

The Milwaukee Police Department posts full news conferences and has started using its YouTube channel to record interviews with traditional media outlets — especially when police believe the reporter is being combative or pursuing an agenda. Jeff Bumgarner, a professor in the law enforcement program at Minnesota State University-Mankato, said when police release video, it gives them added credibility. “It does take a lot of the wind out of the sails of critics who assert a lack of transparency,” he said.

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