Tiny cameras worn near police officers’ ears are being tested this month in Fort Smith, Ar., Cincinnati, San Jose, and Aberdeen, S.D., says USA Today. The camera system is sold by Arizona-based Taser International. “There’s no doubt in my mind that this is the wave of the future in policing,” says Cincinnati Police Chief Tom Streicher says. “If we’ve got a way to actually record the events as they unfold, what better evidence is there for us to bring forward?”
Dennis Kenney of John Jay College of Criminal Justice says the technology has its drawbacks. “It raises tremendous privacy concerns,” he says. “It’s only a matter of time before one of these hits YouTube.” Taser says the video is transmitted to a secure site with no way for officers or others to tamper with it. A variety of new cameras are being developed for use on officers and in police cars, says Lt. Col. Dean Hairston of the Danville, Va., Police Department. Devices have become smaller, “and you have the ability now to capture and store a lot more data than you previously could have,” Hairston says. “We’re building things that allow us to have an electronic tether on that officer.” About $5,700 would pay for an officer to be equipped with Taser’s system for three years. Tough economic times could make it difficult for some departments to afford the technology.