If you feel inclined, Google the word “bodycam” and click the filter for up-to-date news.
Upon doing so today, I was immediately met with headlines like “Expert reacts to new bodycam footage from shooting…” as well as “Family of unarmed man fatally shot, as recorded by bodycam…” and “Released bodycam video covers graphic shootout…”
Not your Saturday-morning-cartoons type of pleasant newsfeed, yet these are reports that shouldn’t be ignored.
First, let’s lay this out, plain as day: Law enforcement entities deploying the latest body-worn cameras is not the immediate problem. Bodycams promote accountability and extremely necessary visibility into police actions; documenting them for the purposes of future incidents or disputes is huge. More transparency – provided officers act justly, as they should – is great, and it increases public trust. Footage from bodycams serves as valuable evidence during criminal proceedings or internal affairs investigations, so having it readily available in order to establish objective records of encounters amidst police and the public is a digital-age win.
The flipside of this coin is more in line with the varieties of news pieces we’re hit with when searching online or while watching news channels live. Individuals who haven’t committed a crime (and haven’t consented to being recorded) take issue with these bodycams; this can even lead to more widespread privacy and surveillance dilemmas. In cases where law enforcement selectively records, footage that should legitimately be solidified evidence becomes far less concrete due to said manipulation. And when (not “if” in this case, unfortunately; given current U.S. tensions, this is more of a “when”) an officer of the laws’ bodycam captures unjust approaches and preventable violence, this can either be further tampered with (i.e. the last example) or – if released in full – it may not always secure justice for those harmed because of those who’d opt to weaponize it to drum up manufactured outrage. Sadly, these losses.
This is admittedly a super nuanced topic, but one takeaway here is that bodycams are neither a win-win nor a lose-lose. They’re in a tough area of gray. No two ways about it.
The hope is to see news headlines with the word “bodycam” used because the devices were deployed during justified actions that resulted in nonlethal resolutions of conflict. That’s a good goal to work towards, but we are not nearly there as a society.
So, to ensure a more clear, accurate account of events, companies like Motorola have launched their own next-gen bodycam technologies. In Motorola’s case, this refers to the V700 Body Camera. It features mobile broadband capabilities to give public safety agencies another critical source of real-time field intelligence to stay apprised of what’s being recorded, and to hold accountable the people onto whom bodycams are affixed.
The V700 state-of-the-art LTE body camera also:
Is any of this a perfect science? No, but what Motorola is building through this smart ecosystem of connected technologies is a multiple-points-of-view solution that will hopefully improve incident responses and the safety of those involved.
Per Mahesh Saptharishi, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer leading these Motorola Solutions efforts:
“In public safety, outcomes often hinge on an agency’s ability to surface the necessary critical insights in mere seconds in order to action better, faster decision-making. Our V700’s connectivity to out wider ecosystem – including to command center software – offers unprecedented understandings of a situation so resources can be directed when and how they matter most.”
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