BODY-WORN VIDEO: ACCOUNTABILITY IN THE DIGITAL AGE

Police and law enforcement oversight in the modern era is an increasingly complex and popular topic, with all signs pointing toward the widespread adoption of body-worn cameras for officers and other personnel who regularly make contact with the public. A recent poll shows that 76% of Millennials in the United States support mandatory body-worn cameras for police officers. Meanwhile, this technology continues to gain popularity throughout the public sector, including administrators at a school district in Virginia who are set to begin recording interactions with students.

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Photo courtesy of Reuters/Al Seib/Pool

The benefits of body-worn video include more plea deals and less court time, a reduction in citizen complaints and allegations of misconduct, and increased accountability for both officers and subjects of investigations. However, there are many challenges inherent in adopting new technologies, such as financial concerns surrounding purchasing agreements with vendors, as well as costs associated with data storage and equipment maintenance. Despite the popularity of these programs nationwide, many citizens also have concerns about the implementation of policies and procedures regarding when and how recordings are captured, and the degree of control officers have over these devices.

Another major consideration for agencies utilizing body-worn cameras is the question of access to recordings; in other words, who gets to see the footage, and when? Some city and state governments have made these recordings public almost immediately, while others have exempted body-camera footage from public records requests. Several states have begun passing laws regulating the release of body camera videos, although many officials question whether legislation on such matters is even necessary, citing the desire of different agencies to forge their own policies and guidelines to meet their individual needs. Ultimately, decisions on when and how to release these videos will have to balance the need to comply with public records requests while simultaneously protecting sensitive information, such as the identities of adult and child victims, witnesses, and other parties present during police contact.

Agencies looking to solve problems related to data storage and the release of videos can turn to transcription as a viable solution. Net Transcripts is the leading provider of confidential transcription and translation services to law enforcement and criminal justice agencies throughout the nation. Our professional typists will accurately transcribe body-worn video recordings, producing valuable evidence which can be easily redacted to protect sensitive information while satisfying the need for disclosure. We can also translate any foreign languages spoken in a recording, providing valuable context to the events captured by a body-worn camera or other recording device. Please contact a representative for more information regarding the quality, security, and user-friendliness of the services provided by Net Transcripts.

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