Police Officers Looking To Buy Their Own Body Cameras
Should police and law enforcement officers be forced to wear a body camera?
The topic was brought into the national spotlight following the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri by Darren Wilson, a police officer. A recent series of other widely publicized police shootings ensured the debate remains a focal point at law enforcement agencies across the country.
Most recently, Jesse Kidder, a police officer in New Richmond, Ohio avoided using lethal force on Michael Wilcox, a suspect who allegedly killed both his girlfriend and best friend. Wilcox charged at Kidder in what appears to be a "suicide by cop" situation, where the victim deliberately attempts to get shot and killed by police.
The entire confrontation was captured on the officer's personal video camera.
New Richmond's chief of police, Randy Harvey, commented in a statement that the video may have presented sufficient evidence to relieve the officer of any wrongdoing if the confrontation ended with the use of deadly force.
Officers looking to similarly protect their reputation in the event of a fatal shooting are now considering buying their own body cameras.
"It's just an added safeguard to the public and an added layer of accountability for our officers," said Capt. Jim Sizemore of the Fayette County, West Virginia sheriff's department, which was introduced to body cameras when an individual deputy bought his own, wanting to document his policing and protect against false accusations.
Benzinga reported in early April an interview with Cody Willard, chairman of Scutify, a financial social network.
"You're buying a lottery ticket," he said during the interview. "I don't care how many headlines out there are about people wearing wearables, about law enforcement embracing wearable camera technology. That has nothing to do with Digital Ally. These guys are a tiny player. They don't have distribution. They have a few products. We don't know how good they are."
The expert also added that police officers can't walk into their local Best Buy Co Inc (NYSE: BBY) and buy a camera with sufficient durability that is suitable for their line of work.
On the other hand, Andrew Uerkwitz of Oppenheimer commented in a note on April 10 that Taser is "only at the top of the first inning," as the company is heavily investing in its long-term prospects of providing body cameras and other non-weapons products and services to law enforcement officers.
It is also true that a police officer cannot purchase a Taser body camera at their local Best Buy. The company already holds a reputation and prior business relationships with police forces, implying it has distribution and easier access to sell its products and services.
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