Monday, April 16, 2007

The eyes of justice?

Cameras are becoming an increasingly used tool of law enforcement. Police cruisers have long sported cameras to record the activities of an officer and their prey on the roads. These have captured all manner of horrific and entertaining events. Not only do they help clarify the actions of all parties involved in an arrest. This can be a great help in the courts where the differing stories from involved parties can really muddy up a situation.

As they proved mostly effective we have seen cameras begin to find their way into further elements of police work. In our city the use of cameras was hotly debated as the city planned to deploy 6 cameras in the downtown core area. These were proposed to boost security and enhance the ability of the police to keep better watch on the area, which was perceived to be in the middle of a crime wave. Have they really done the trick, I don't know but I can say that people think they work and from a politician's standpoint that is good enough. I've always wondered what their next step would be if they decided that the cameras worked so well that the program should be expanded.

Well thanks to the Chongqing City Police in China I know. They have decided that in an effort to protect officers from foolish lawsuits that they need to record the activities of the officers. Does this mean that they can't do any police work unless they are stood in front of their car? Not anymore. 100 officers will be adding a new piece of gear to their uniform. Attached to the bands on their hat will be a 50 gram camera the size of a small flashlight. These cameras can be activated at the press of a button by the officers and will record up to 1 hour of video. Aside from the issue of whether these are a good idea or not I have to chuckle. The interview with the representative from the police force had a comment that solved the mystery of how they got these into the budget. When asked why they wanted these he replied with the protection of the officers and the safeguards against frivolous lawsuits but he added "The video could be edited for television".

It's good to see that they are focused on the security and safety of their citizens. It makes me howl though, as I can picture officers practicing their cheesy television police cliche one liners. The outtakes could be interesting, especially if the officer forgets he's got his camera running!! I wonder if any of the officers will do anything remarkably strange just so they can get on TV? Given that Chongqing is a port city can we expect some Chinese Miami Vice style chases? These questions and many others may be answered when the fall lineup of TV shoes hits the airwaves.


Blogger DutchBitch said...

Hmmmmm...maybe we should get those in the medical center...

10:28:00 AM  
Blogger angela marie said...

A whole NEW REALITY tv show, eh?

9:18:00 PM  
Blogger jcpiercy said...

could use these in a few places , I dont wish to mention


good article pete

1:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

let's just hope they remember to turn them on! Could you imagine: officer to suspect: hold that thought please, I have to record this for posterity's sake!?

I'm amazed the Americans didn't think of this one first. They love their reality tv!

8:12:00 PM  

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