Police Body Cameras: The Silent Witness

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Throwawaysixtynine via Wikimedia Commons - CC BY 4.0
The body camera is a silent witness between the officer and whoever he is dealing with.”
Sergeant Jeffery Warnke, Patrol Sergeant

CULLMAN – People in public service do not have it easy. Take the Police for example; they are there when citizens need them, they protect the community while it sleeps, and they strive to keep our cities clean of drugs and crime. Still, they receive flack about almost everything they do.

Some say the issue is police brutality, and that white officers are abusive to blacks. Let us think about this for a moment. When an officer answers a call he or she has no idea what exactly they are responding to. As Sergeant Jeff Warnke in the Cullman Police Department patrol division stated, “We do not deal with the cream of the crop, either they’ve caused some kind of trouble or have been in some kind of trouble.” 

Police officers are trained to expect the worst in any situation, and many times it is the worst. In order for them to do their job, protecting our communities, they must also defend themselves. Sometimes this requires them to take down the assailant. 

Unfortunately in a growing number of areas a wall of mistrust between citizens and police has been created. Police officers in many areas are now  being equipped with body cameras that record every situation an officer is involved in.

The Cullman Police Department recently added this chest-worn device to their daily equipment.

Warnke explained the purpose for the devices, “A lot of times when we are talking to people they are not as truthful as they should be and they make false accusations against officers. When the officer is not wearing the camera it’s that person’s word against that officer’s word. Then you have a silent witness that sees everything. I can tell you things that happened at a crime scene, but unless you were there when you see the results you don’t know what precipitated that.”

When the actions of a police officer come under scrutiny body cameras gather crucial insight that helps determine how an event occurred.