Just as “cruiser cams” did, tiny cameras worn on officers' uniforms can make a big difference in police work if public safety agencies can afford the pricey little gadgets, says the Cincinnati Enquirer. Former police chief Thomas Streicher calls the devices “the next giant step in the evolution of policing.” Some models are as small as a cigarette lighter and can be worn on sunglasses, caps or lapels. “Five years from now, I can't imagine being in this field and not having this equipment,” said Streicher, now a public-safety consultant.
The cameras, which several local departments said they'd like to consider cost more than shrinking police budgets can bear. High-end versions can cost $1,000 per officer, plus data-storage fees. Less-expensive units run as little as $100 or so. Streicher's convinced that the value of recording every police-citizen interaction far outweighs the cost. “Identifying, collecting and preserving the best evidence about every encounter between the police officer and the community is a duty. It's an ethical, legal and moral responsibility,” Streicher said. “You can't afford not to have it.” Delhi Police Chief Jim Howarth, president of the Hamilton County Association of Chiefs of Police, says, “The videos don't lie. The biggest positive would be to see any incident through the eyes of the officer.”