back to article Washington cops may be compelled to use gun-cams

Cops in Washington DC could soon be compelled to fit their pistols with cameras that would record gunsight video in every situation in which the weapons were drawn, according to reports. According to US network NBC, District of Columbia council member Harry "Tommy" Thomas has introduced a draft local bill which would compel city …

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Black Helicopters

CCTV

Was in shock there for a moment. After reading the title, had an image of CCTV cameras with guns attached. RoboCam!

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Tongue Found Cheek?

"Though presumably only the guilty cops would have anything to fear." sounds a lot like the "if you are innocent you have nothing to fear" argument to me so I hope I just didn't notice the tongue firmly wedged in the cheek (early morning here. Where's my coffee? Oh, right, I'm drinking it.)

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Biter bit?

"presumably only the guilty cops would have anything to fear."

Do we detect just the mildest, slightest, most tiny hint of sarcasm?

Sounds like a good idea to me. It's not directly comparable (of course), but all my admin access to systems at work is recorded, why shouldn't gun waving be?

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USB Cam

My USB missile launcher has a web cam option so that is no big deal. The interesting thing would be to feed the camera through facial recognition software - if only to avoid 'collateral damage'.

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Anonymous Coward

Well...

"Though presumably only the guilty cops would have anything to fear."

You could make an argument that gun-cam videos, taken out of context, would in many situations not really give the information you need to reach a conclusion. Not being a firearms / tactics expert, I don't know, but it seems like it might be the case.

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Jay

And UK plod?

Would be interesting to see this applied to the UK police as well.

Living on the edge of the City of London all my life I've experience of officers interesting ideas about firearms safety.

Especially when the ring of steel went up and officers decided it was ok to stop vehicles at gun point assuming they were proxy bombers, got accused of that one on a motorcycle once.

My sister and the driver of the taxi she was in being stopped at gun point, the doors being opened and guns pointed in just to ask where she was going then let go.

And lets not forget Stockwell either.

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Silver badge
Paris Hilton

Down the tubes

How long before the first "happy capping" vids get on You Tube?

Paris - 'Cos she knows all about tubes & vids...

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Ru
Pirate

Out of context

Perhaps.

But you'd be less likely to have, say, a bunch of police with automatic weapons splattering an unarmed, kneeling guy's brains out all over, say, an underground train carriage.

Anyone know of the exact rules of engagement for armed police? I'm pretty certain it doesn't involve a western-style quickdraw and kill. That gun will have to be out, and the camera rolling (and presumably recording sound) long enough before lead meets cortex to capture at least some kind of validation for the shot.

Its the tasercams I'm more interested in, however. There's far too much tase first, ask questions later going on, and anything which might curtail that should be very warmly welcomed.

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Anonymous Coward

Could lead to as many problems as they solve

So a crooked cop makes a wrong decision and shoots the wrong person (or at the wrong time). Not being an idiot, he then proceeds to destroy the electronic evidence (frying the camera and/or memory in a microwave oven possibly).

If the camera i turned off when the phone is in the holster, you will undoubtedly have some people who will learn to shoot while the gun is still in the holster.

This is of course not a worse situation than today, where there is no video to destroy in the first case.

But consider the reverse situation, where the video recorder malfunctions and there is no video available, or where the video also shows somebody else that would be put at risk by making the video available to the public (like the snitch who handed the guy to the cops in the first case) - can you hear the cries of "Cover Up !" ?

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Pirate

Ummm - Back up weapons, anyone?

A documentary that I saw not so long ago, "Grand Theft Auto - San Andreas", had some bent coppers killing people using other peoples guns. It's good to know that 17 years after the events of that documentary, it's now impossible to do such a thing.

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Stop

Guncam

I thought making snuff movies was a myth - how little I know.

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Rules of Engagement

Well, in some case, yes, it will give enough information.

For example, if they're inside of 21 feet, with a lethal weapon, and coming towards you, you draw and shoot. Also, say I decide to just kill someone for no good reason, and draw my gun to shoot them when they're down- surprise, it's on camera. Seems to me that in either of those situations, that's better than no information.

The downside is, that, well, you don't catch what's said before it. You don't know if the cop was trying to bait that guy into attacking him.

Some departments, if I recall from my Technology in CJ class correctly, are looking into a new storage method for squad car cameras- instead of always on, which consumes memory in a hurry, you can use a higher resolution camera (to make it more useful footage) and have it streaming a 1 minute loop, which, the moment anyone in your department flips on their lights, every car in the department saves and continues saving from then on. This gives a three-fold advantage over normal systems: you have way less data to trudge through, you get some lead time before the issue has become prominent, and you get better quality video without worrying about increased space issues.

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This a major aspect of Trusted Surveillance

How do we watch the watchers? Amongst other things, we put cameras on them and audit the footage. This is precisely the kind of thing we are arguing for here:

http://snipurl.com/27w2q

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Pirate

no watchers at all

Considering that there is virtually no valid independent review of police action anywhere (GB or US or ??), this would have to be some improvement IF; and only IF it is really used by an independent body to review police action (and not just to cover up whatever they've done THIS time).

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Happy

@dave

Don't miss the new documentary they released recently!

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Joke

Police Shows

Should spice up the tired old cop show format a bit. What would be even better is to but cameras IN THE BULLETS!

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Thumb Up

Image quality?

What kind of resolution will these things have? They're not exactly on a stable platform, either. Still, it's better than nothing.

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Unhappy

clumsy.

I hope they don't require those on civilian guns, I'd never get a safe holster that fit my Glock right.

The best rule of engagement with armed "American" police is just stay the hell away! Summoning the police in a major US city is like summoning a Demon, it may help you, and it may just kill you for the temerity of bothering it...............

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Boffin

Compound Eye -the fly on the wall

Somebody will make a lot of money by selling small cameras to fit to guns. If they fancy doubling their money, they could fit two cameras and simultaneously capture images of the shooter's face as he pulls the trigger.

They will not wear sunglasses though because the police always say.... "If you have nothing to hide..."

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Alert

It's odd that there's so much gun crime in DC...

considering it's illegal to possess a handgun in the District unless you're a police officer or a Fed. Maybe that old saying about gun laws not keeping guns away from criminals, and only away from law-abiding citizens has some merit. Maybe fewer people would get robbed at gunpoint if a few victims were allowed to return fire, even.

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Black Helicopters

Surveillance for the masses

Hmm. This surveillance thing is definitely getting more interesting. First we had UK MPs' expenses claims published. Now shooter-cams in the US. Next we'll need CCTV in the offices of all state institutions, so we know exactly who knew what and when.

After all, only the corrupt have anything to hide...

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Re: Ru

Using the example of Stockwell doesn't give much cause for hope for the gun-cam solution. The police don't dispute that de Menezes was not a criminal, and was doing nothing suspicious (later lies to the contrary were all retracted). Any evidence provided by a gun-cam couldn't have made the police look any worse. Yet there was no recrimination whatsoever. If you can kill a man in those circumstances and get away with it, it's difficult to imagine a realistic situation in which you couldn't.

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