Police body cameras – small cameras placed on a law enforcement officer’s vest to record every encounter with a potential criminal suspect – have been controversial from their beginning. Some police departments see them as a financial burden and a means of exposing peoples’ private, embarrassing moments. Many others see them as a boon, allowing both police officers and the accused to protect their reputations through the capture and preservation of hard evidence.
In order to get a clearer picture of police body cameras and what they actually provide, WMBB ABC 13 recently conducted a special report on the subject, complete with a piece that aired on February 15th, 2018 at 6:00 PM. Alex Thorson interviewed Albert J. Sauline, III Attorney at Law for his legal insight into the matter. Some of his conversation with her was featured in the news piece.
As Attorney Sauline pointed out, a police body camera “protects everybody” involved with a police incident or arrest. With the simple touch of a button, the camera will start to record both the audio and visual elements of an encounter. Police can use the footage to show they were “by the book” and the accused can also use the footage to help prove their own innocence. For the cost of the camera and a memory card, a police department can equip an officer with a powerful and useful piece of equipment.
On the other hand, Attorney Sauline also noted that anything recorded by a police body camera will be considered public record. To this end, anyone interested in seeing how a police incident panned out can request that information and retrieve it without a warrant. There are parties that are concerned placing such footage into public records would be a breach of privacy or confidentiality. Concerns have also arisen regarding how footage released to the public could jeopardize an ongoing investigation.
If you would like to view the entire special report, including the piece that aired on WMBB ABC 13, you can click here to visit the newsgroup’s official website. For more information about Attorney Albert Sauline, III and his criminal defense law firm in Panama City, you should feel free to contact our office at any time. If you have been accused of or charged with a criminal violation, be sure to request a free case review to learn your rights and legal options.