Ferguson Police Officers Begin Wearing Body Cameras

Officers of the Ferguson Police Department began wearing body cameras Saturday after private companies donated more than 50 cameras to the department

Ferguson Police Officers Begin Wearing Body Cameras
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Police officers in Ferguson, Missouri, are now wearing body cameras.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch first reported it. Two private companies, Safety Vision and Digital Ally, donated 50 body cameras to the Ferguson Police Department last week.

CBS"They clip on the top of the officer's uniformed shirt, and they record both audio and video."

​"As the officer would walk up on the car, this would be what he sees as he comes up on the driver."

KSDK"The video is downloaded at the end of the officer's shift. Most of the department's 54 officers have been trained on how to use them."

Less than a week ago, Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill said police officers in the U.S. should be required to wear body cameras.

But she characterized it as an opportunity for Ferguson police to protect themselves. 

​MCCASKILL VIA KMOV"Police officers are now at a disadvantage because someone can tape the last part of an encounter and not tape the first part of the encounter, and it gives the impression that the police officer has overreacted when they haven't."

On the flip side, there were also calls for the body cameras to protect protesters

Critics point to video like this — of an officer who later ended up resigning — pointing his weapon at a crowd. 

A petition on the White House's We the People website called for a "Mike Brown Law" for cameras "to not only detour police misconduct, but to ensure that all police are following procedure, and to remove all question, from normally questionable police encounters.​" 

In the past week, more and more major cities such as Houston, Denver and New York City police departments have expressed interest in getting body cameras for their officers, with expected costs ranging from $1.5 million to $8 million. (Via KRIV, KMGHAM New York)

Then again Bloomberg points out a potential issue: "Videos often lack critical context, and studies have repeatedly shown that jurors can be misled by variables such as a film's angle or focus, which can unduly sway perceptions of guilt."

The Ferguson Police Department first used the body cameras during a protest on Saturday. Police Chief Tom Jackson told the Post-Dispatch the officers are receptive to the cameras.