Citizens of Raleigh have to give credit to Chief of Police Cassandra Deck-Brown for her department’s efforts to educate the public on the use of body cameras by police. Officers now will be equipped with the small devices, and there are to be clear guidelines in their use.
Deck-Brown is going around the community with a camera, showing people in public meetings how they work and explaining the policies whereby police will use them. The cameras have become more popular and more important in the wake of clashes between police and citizens around the country that have resulted in standoffs where victims have claimed abuse and police have said they were just doing their jobs. Cameras help to clear up such disputes.
But the rules are important, and at one meeting a citizen asked Deck-Brown for details. She said officers would activate their cameras and dashboard cameras during traffic stops, arrests, unlawful disturbances, calls involving mentally disturbed persons and warrantless searches. She said the procedures would be audited – and it cannot be said enough that the polices have to be absolute, particularly when the activation of the cameras is under the control of officers.
The system will be in force soon. Deck-Brown is going the extra mile to cover the city face-to-face with those her department serves.