As the use of body cameras by police spreads across the United States, adoption of this tool for greater transparency and accountability is only the first step toward credible progress, says the Christian Science Monitor. A new study of 50 US police departments concludes that even more important than simply using cameras are the rules that govern their use – and particularly who sees the videos produced. Currently, body cameras are liable to be abused due to unclear policies in many jurisdictions, says the study by Upturn, a Washington, D.C., consulting group. But the study also found examples of police departments modeling best practices.
“Body cameras are only a step in the right direction,” said Chad Marlow of the ACLU, “if their use is governed by principles.” Chicago and Cincinnati police departments scored relatively well in the study. One of the top scores went to Parker, Colo., a Denver suburb of 50,000 credited with doing a good job of balancing the interests of both police and civilians.