We generally agree with the Hancock County grand jury that in essence concluded the more police officers who wear body cams the better.
We believe cameras when used properly have a tremendous upside. People tend to tap into their better natures when they know their actions are being recorded, and possibly about to be shared with the world at large.
There have been occasions when there is disagreement among witnesses about what happened when a police officer made an arrest, or shot or killed someone. A camera can be an impartial observer in such matters and can clear up confusion and mistakes by witnesses.
But cameras are not perfect. They can be misused. Some body cameras can be turned on or off by the officer. That is a bad idea. The officer should not have such discretion over what is or isn't recorded. There have to be safeguards in place to assure people they are being treated fairly.
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And there are people the police encounter who have good reason not to have their faces all over the Internet. Rape and sexual abuse victims, for example. Victims of domestic violence. Witnesses, many of whom have legitimate concerns about reprisal.
And there are the police officers going about their daily routines when they aren't interacting with the public. We believe they should have some privacy as well.
But these are solvable problems and shouldn't be a deterrent to the use of body cams.
The final concern is cost. Police have said the cost of storing videos is more of a concern than the cost of cameras. Fortunately, that storage cost is coming down.
The vast majority of police officers deserve our respect. They also deserve all the tools necessary to safely enforce the laws. We should be willing to pay for body cameras, which are one such tool.
This editorial represents the views of the Sun Herald editorial board. Opinions of columnists, and cartoonists are their own.