BART Police to Get Officer-Mounted Cameras

BART Police to Get Officer-Mounted Cameras

BART PD has launched a pilot program to give officers clip-on, ride-along cameras to permanently record future incidents.

Officers wearing the cameras won't be able to delete or tamper with the videos they shoot - that all has to be done back in the station once the video is downloaded to a computer. The only caveat is that the officer actually has to flip the camera on to begin recording.

All cops should be lowjacked and recorded 100% of the time that they are on duty. Why is this even controversial?

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25 Responses:

  1. Travis Roy says:

    I can see a small problem when they're say, in the bathroom or whatever.. But you think the cops would like this, it could protect them just as much as the public.

    • Dusk says:

      … the officer actually has to flip the camera on to begin recording.

    • jwz says:

      If ordinary, law-abiding citizens are required to show their junk to the TSA, why shouldn't cops -- the weapons of the State -- be required to put up with their junk having been securely archived back at HQ?

      It's a stupidly trivial concession to have to make in exchange for being granted such vast, and usually unchecked, power over the citizens they purportedly exist only to protect.

      Nobody's forced to be a cop.

      • SpaceHobo says:

        More than that, this shit should be a constant feed on community cable stations 345-578, and youtube should contain a complete set at most 24 hours old. The surveilance state is a two-way street, young man!

  2. TJIC says:

    > All cops should be lowjacked and recorded 100% of the time that they are on duty. Why is this even controversial?

    You mean besides the fact that 80+% of cops routinely break laws, intimidate witnesses, lie on the stand, and cover up wrong-doing by fellow cops?

    No other reasons at all that I can think of.

    • Owen says:

      80+% sounds like a totally realistic number that I'm sure was published in some research that you just forgot to cite.

      • TJIC says:

        I've known several cops, including relatives, who brag about things they do.

        Whether they realize that what they're bragging about are crimes, or whether they delude themselves that it's somehow legitimate I'm not clear on, but I'm more than willing to stake money on the 80+% figure.

      • Ronald Pottol says:

        Well, the average person commits three felonies a day, why should cops be any different? http://www.threefelonies.com/ for sources for that.

        But seriously, have you met cops? Or go read http://www.theagitator.com/

  3. Notthebuddha says:

    ...even the clean cops hate it because it's a stream of actionable pretexts. Every imperfection in their recorded behavior is something they have to account for, and compounds the likelihood that evidence gets disallowed or charges dismissed. I once had to rebuild and data restore a Unix server according to an outdated checklist and the million-dollar customer sat with me and watched everything I did, frequently asking questions for 8 1/2 hours. It was not a confidence-building time.

  4. It's not the solution to the actual problem, but it's a nice step in the right direction.

    (The actual problem, of course, being that the BART police actually exist in the first place.)

    • Nick Lamb says:

      Doesn't BART cross enforcement areas? That's the reason the British Transport Police exist for example. They have the same restrictions as other police except that their "turf" is the entire railway network, so when some little toerag is slicing his name into a railway car, the BTP don't need to stop and consult a map before taking action.

      Video cameras should in theory help with Peel-style policing. Minimum intervention, maximum responsibility in order to obtain buy-in from the community being policed. But letting the officers decide what's worth recording (and then letting their own back office decide what to delete) doesn't seem like it was guided by Pellian principles.

      • Doesn't BART cross enforcement areas?

        They do. I refuse to believe that the only way to address that problem was to create a Keystone Kops brigade of people who couldn't make it in the real SF/Berkeley/Oakland police departments, and then to give them guns and live ammo.

      • Anonymous says:

        In California, railroad police officers have statewide peace officer authority.

        As I recall, Metrolink, the commuter rail service in Southern California, contracts with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department for law-enforcement services throughout its six-county operating area.

        The circumstances are somewhat different: cities and counties are responsible for security at their Metrolink stations, so the sheriff's deputies are mostly there to keep order on the trains themselves and to enforce the proof-of-payment fare system, but I'm not aware of a reason BART couldn't do something similar instead of having its own police force, if its directors so chose.

  5. Ben Brockert says:

    I like the implication of the text that the videos will be tampered with back at the station.

  6. Ralf Hildebrandt says:

    Here in Berlin, it's even controversial for the cops to have name or even NUMBER (!) badges. Go figure.