Law-enforcement agencies are those bodies that are fully responsible for protecting the safety of society. However, the cases of police excesses have become frequent recently, and ordinary people question whether it is possible to trust the police. Matray (2015) stipulates that the use of body cameras can be a useful option in this situation. Even though the policy of implementing this technology offers both essential advantages and drawbacks, some people believe that using body cameras is a challenging issue. Thus, the purpose of this synthesis paper is to demonstrate that body cameras do not increase community trust irrespective of their potential benefits.
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To begin with, one should comment on the potential advantages and drawbacks of the policy under consideration. On the one hand, many people state that the cameras are wrong because they intervene in the personal lives of both police officers and civilians. Rallis, Rossman, Cobb., Reagan, and Kuntz (2008) mention that it is an example of a nonconsequentialist theory. It refers to the fact that there exist “universal standards that guide all behavior, regardless of the consequences in a specific context (Rallis et al., 2008, p. 19).
This information supposes that it is not reasonable to emphasize any positive features of the policy because it has the essential drawback. At the same time, Matray (2015) also addresses this issue and states that police will not need to perform “recording in courtrooms, emergency rooms, and bathrooms, where there is an expectation of privacy” (para. 10). This information stipulates that a negative phenomenon exists, but responsible persons should solve it adequately.
On the other hand, it is necessary to state that body cameras imply essential benefits for the whole society. It is so because this technology contributes to increased transparency of police work (Matray, 2015). The scientist stipulates that these cameras create materials that can be helpful “for possible use in criminal cases” (Matray, 2015, para. 6).
For example, a recording can explain whether officers have had justified reasons to use their firearms. Rallis et al. (2008) mention that this situation reflects a consequentialist approach that represents a “focus on the results of actions in determining their rightness or wrongness” (p. 18). Furthermore, Rallis et al. (2008) state that “personal preferences should not be relevant to policy deliberation” (p. 16). The information above denotes that the body cameras’ advantages are more significant than their drawbacks, but this issue does not address community trust.
According to the information above, police excesses are crucial issues in the modern world. It happens relatively often that police officers can kill a person, either intentionally or accidentally. The case of Michael Brown from Ferguson, MO, is one of the most famous examples. The main problem concerning such situations refers to the fact that some police officers feel almighty. That is why supporters of body cameras expect that this technology will act as a deterrent power for such unreliable officers.
While the article by Matray (2015) does not indicate whether the body cameras have proved their efficiency, it is only possible to explore this idea. If one wants to assess the potential success of the technology in solving the problem, it is reasonable to identify what has caused this issue. According to the information above, police excesses happen because some officers believe that they can use force to solve any issue.
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Consequently, they behave as if they are unpunished, which often escalates conflicts and leads to fatal outcomes. The body cameras fail to solve the problem because everything that they can do is to record how police officer invite aggression. It means that one can improve community trust with the help of other ways, including training officers in psychology to know how to avoid conflicts.
Even though the body cameras offer essential benefits, it does not mean that it is obligatory to implement them. Neither consequentialist nor nonconsequentialist theories are sufficient means to predict the future of the cameras. The information above demonstrates that this technology cannot increase community trust because it does not address the causes of the problem. In this case, the cameras should be a supplementary resource that will demonstrate how police officers manage to apply psychological concepts to avoid conflicts.
The use of police body cameras can positively affect social safety and security, but the question of whether these positive effects will be sufficient to increase community trust remains challenging. There exist various approaches that present arguments for and against the use of this technology, but neither of them considers the fact that community trust does not suffer from the lack of videos. Here, it is necessary to emphasize that citizens do not trust the police because some officers do not abide by the law, invite aggression, and use their firearms to solve conflicts. While the readings do not have any information addressing this phenomenon, one can suppose that the body cameras will fail to improve community trust irrespective of what potential positive outcomes they can bring.
Matray, M. (2015). Suffolk police will have body cameras before July. The Virginian-Pilot. Web.
Rallis, S. F., Rossman, G. B., Cobb., C. D., Reagan, T. G., & Kuntz, A. (2008). Leading dynamic schools: How to create and implement ethical policies. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.