A password will be e-mailed to you.

Big Brother Turned On His Head

RIALTO, CA– A small California town outside Los Angeles has been the subject of an intriguing experiment in law enforcement. Over the past year, the 70 officers of the Rialto police department have all been equipped with body cameras. The results are encouraging, and are likely to expand to others parts of the US, as well as the UK.

Recently, the College of Policing stated that large-scale trials of the body cameras will take place in England and Wales. This is due in part to the drastic drop in use of force and in public complaints against officers in Rialto.

Rialto’s police chief Tony Farrar stated, “I think we’ve opened some eyes in the law enforcement world. We’ve shown the potential.”

While not an entirely new concept, the Rialto experiment has offered conclusive proof based on scientific data that body cameras are working. After cameras were introduced in February 2012, public complaints against officers plunged 88% compared with the previous 12 months. Officers’ use of force fell by 60%.

When the watchmen are watched, they’re more likely to behave. “That’s just human nature,” said Farrar. “As an officer you act a bit more professional, follow the rules a bit better.”

Police chases on foot and by car are more frequently ending in arrests that don’t cause injury or death. There’s also an improvement in their tone and demeanor when dealing with citizens. As Chief Farrar noted, “With a camera they are more conscious of how they speak and how they treat people.”

Those rules work for the public as well. Once citizens are made aware that their interactions with police are being recorded, even inebriated and angry people change their attitude to be more cordial. It’s also helped to protect officers from people who have made false accusations of police brutality.

Farrar is cut from a different cloth than most police chiefs. Rather than making excuses for his officers, he’s proactive about providing solutions. He has several degrees, including a master’s from Cambridge’s Institute of Criminology. His idea to use cameras stemmed from this education, and it’s made officers more careful about using force. “It’s still part of the business, they still do it. But now they make better use of what we call verbal judo.”

Fewer complaints and calmer policing, said Farrar, would reduce lawsuits and expensive payouts. While some officers complained to Farrar that it would get them into trouble, he responded, “I’ve had no problems, so I’m OK with it.” The ACLU has even come out in support, saying that with proper oversight, accountability gains would outweigh privacy concerns.

With more police accountability, and likely fewer civilian casualties, Rialto is truly living up to its city motto: bridge to progress.

Follow Faith on Twitter

  • n2oiroc

    i love it! im sure police unions all across the country will fight the hell out of it though.

    • How can the police act ‘reasonably’ while wearing cameras. Unions will argue that wearing a camera will make the police second guess threatening situations, putting the police officers life at risk. Nevermind that it could protect police from false accusations and protect us ‘subjects’ from rogue police action.

      • Redd_Melendez

        Then record him without his consent. Perfectly legal on traffic stops.

  • DaveD1000

    I love it too, the camera doesnt usually lie, cops have been Proven to lie regularly. There is no viable argument against them other than “I cant lie my way out of that”… Gotcha 🙂

    • Kelly Carden

      And vice versa, don’t pretend that everyone that makes complaints are granted. So I like it for both reasons, people who make false claims against the police recieve tons of our money. And also it keeps the jackass cops in check,

  • Inconsistencies

    Cameras or no cameras, they are still the private security force for the wretched elite, and will still extract your hard earned money to redistribute among the parasitic classes. Kinder, gentler rape is still rape.

  • leslie green

    Finally the playing field is evening out! This is good news for the public.

  • Chan Mac

    Now this is a good idea that works for everyone. Its a start at least.

  • Heyna_or_no

    Claims against the officers have dropped because the people who make the complaints are being recorded. No longer can they lie and say they were cursed at, treated wrongly or threatened, when the video shows the officer did nothing wrong!

    • Grizzly907LA

      Talk about drinking the Cops kool aid.

  • Redd_Melendez

    People need to know that the law gives you the right to record or tape Police without consent. The SCOTUS ruled that Police have no expectation of privacy on traffic stops and consent is NOT REQUIRED. He doesn’t even need to be told you are recording him.

  • B White Eagle

    But if you record by camera many police, particularly in California, you can be arrested for doing so!!!