While controversy surrounding body camera usage among police is nothing new, the subject has drawn increased attention amidst continued national protests regarding police misconduct.
The K-State Police Department has had body cameras since at least 2015, and requires its officers to go through a body camera training upon their hiring, but an October 2017 controversy involving a dead battery and a harassment report raised questions of what happens when a camera isn’t on.
Body camera training could last anywhere from under an hour to over two hours if the officer is brand new, Bradli Millington, public information officer for campus police, said. The policy is enforced by the sergeant and follows their chain of command.
According to Millington, the body camera policy states when the camera must be activated and recording, and at what times officers can cease recording. For example, police officers are not to have it on while in medical facilities due to HIPAA and FERPA laws.
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Millington said cameras are a good resource for officers to review for their reports, a great tool for the courts and give people perspective from the officer’s point of view.
“The other thing you’ve got to realize too, is it’s a piece of technology that’s not perfect and things can happen to it and a scuffle, it may get knocked off and become disconnected,” Millington said. “It’s a great tool for us. But as it is with any technology, it’s not perfect.”
In regards to national movements aimed at preventing police brutality such as #8cantwait, a campaign aiming to ban chokeholds, shooting at cars and require de-escalation, Millington did not have a comment.