Fayetteville Police will begin wearing body cameras as part of a $700,000, five year contract. The cameras will be produced by Axon (formerly TASER) and should look something like the photo below.
Body cameras have been in the news the last few years surrounding the discussion of reducing unjustified police shootings and other police misconduct. Some reports have indicated that the use of body cameras does improve police behavior and two of the three recent police shooting cases in which an officer was charged in the death of a civilian involved the use of body cameras. However, a more extensive report conducted in D.C. indicated that the cameras had little effect on officer behavior. So, it still remains to be seen whether these cameras have a substantial effect on police officers.
We at the Joyce Law Firm and other criminal defense attorney’s in Fayetteville should be happy to see these cameras for other reasons as well. Body cameras will provide an additional means to check the stories of both officers and clients. This will allow attorneys to go to trial or negotiate with prosecutors with fewer surprises. Also, body cameras have already been used to help criminal defendants in DWI/ open container cases where camera footage showed that alcohol was not in reach of the driver. We expect that these cameras will help to clarify the facts in other types of cases and that they will be quite useful to both police and defense attorneys.
We are also happy to see the thorough body camera policy and procedures that the Fayetteville Police Department has published. If properly enforced, these should go a long way to ensuring that cameras record events consistently and that the footage is stored and available for the prosecution and defense attorneys.
Charlcee Small is an attorney in Northwest Arkansas who focuses on criminal defense. If you would like to meet with her to discuss your case, please contact the Joyce Law Firm to schedule a consultation.
JoyceLaw Firm was founded in 2002 by Kirk Joyce. Each of the attorneys at the Joyce Law Firm focus in specific areas of law, including, but not limited to: personal injury, immigration, criminal defense, family law, and business law. Contact the Joyce Law Firm today at 479-442-5577.