My draft: Technology Evolving in the Criminal Justice System
Technology Evolving in the Criminal Justice System
Technology has always been improving all around us, from basic cell phones evolving into smartphones and computers evolving into laptops. With technology evolving every day, the possibilities are endless. Technology in the criminal justice system has also improved greatly over the years, both scientifically and mechanically. Scientifically, the first big breakthrough was fingerprinting. This was such a great help to investigators because no two fingerprints are the same, so that only leaves one answer as to who committed a crime. The next big breakthrough was DNA which has released so many innocent men from prison. The time solving a case has also been cut in half because of DNA. Mechanically, in 2009, Tasers or Stun Guns were becoming a big improvement in the criminal justice system. They gave police a different method to control an out of control situation without a fatal result. But after a few deaths by the stun gun they were not as favored anymore. The latest technology breakthrough are cameras. The FBI caught the Boston Bombers just by using the cameras from the public and the cameras from the surrounding buildings. Cameras are no longer just for capturing great memories. They are also great for helping the police and FBI capture what a witness did not. Not only is technology improving our everyday lives, but it’s also improving the security of our society by helping the criminal justice system.
Because of the recent deaths of young unarmed black men such as Micheal Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and Freddie Gray in Baltimore, people want answers and they are tired of the police brutality. It’s the word of the accused against the police department. In order to get the whole story and the understanding of everything, people are pushing police departments all over the United States to start wearing body cameras. The Los Angeles Times wrote an article, “Putting body cameras on cops” which stated, “The Los Angeles Police Department has committed to outfitting all officers on patrol with body cameras starting next year. The effort was launched last year by Police Commission President Steve Soboroff, but it gained momentum after deadly encounters between police and unarmed black men in Ferguson, Mo.” With no one really knowing the truth but the victim and the accused, having police wear body cameras will bring us the whole story. A camera does not have a bad memory or remember things differently from witness to witness. The article “Putting body cameras on cops” also states that “the cameras will change the nature of police encounters and bring clarity to accusations of abuse. Too often in cases of alleged police misconduct, there’s no clear record of what happened. Conflicting witness statements, blurry cellphone videos from bystanders and officers’ after-the-fact accounts can make it impossible to confirm or refute allegations.” In the future, there won’t be any misunderstanding about who did what, which will bring the community closer together. The community will gain faith in the criminal justice system as well as feel that everyone black and white are being treated with same the respect.
The article also identifies three of the steps that must be taken in order to set this futuristic plan into play which are buying the cameras, teaching the officers how to use their new equipment, as well as how the recording of the camera can be used if it is needed. The article also states that there are a number of questions that need to be answered which are, “When will an officer switch on the camera and under what conditions may he or she turn it off? How will the department protect the privacy of individuals captured on video? Will officers record inside people’s homes? Who will have access to the recordings and how long will the LAPD keep them? Will officers be able to review the videos before writing their incident reports?” These are questions that have to be answered in order to protect both the public and the police departments.
Tony Saavedra wrote an article called “From batons to body cameras: Move to put video on each officer is only the latest step in the evolution of technology and police work” in which he states that “Police experts warn that any technology is only as good as the person using it.” This means that just because police officers have the cameras does not mean they will know exactly how to use them if put in a situation where they would need them most. Sam Walker a criminal justice professor says, “Used properly, it’s a very important innovation. The problems have come up when officers use it inappropriately.” Technology is only as good as the person who is using to do what it’s supposed to do.
To narrow down my major, I want to become a Criminal Prosecutor. Having evidence such as video footage from a body camera, would be very solid evidence to use inside a courtroom to prosecute an officer for police brutality. Keith Alexander, the author of “New role for District police body cameras” states that “Video footage can be used as evidence at trails in addition to protecting officers, residents.” This will be another breakthrough because now there will be no he said/she said there will just be the video footage from the body camera. Another article wrote by Romero McKenzie, wrote a “Forum emphasizes support for police body cameras” states that “Civil rights attorney Randall Edwards The best way to keep claims about use of excessive force from coming against officers is for them to stop using excessive force. I believe that as an officer looks at the ladder of escalating force, he will be very, very circumspect about drawing his gun or weapon if he knows he is going to have to be accountable.” Meaning that body cameras are a great start to stopping police brutality but at the heart of the situation police departments, and police officers should stop the use excessive force to begin with.
Body Cameras will definitely become a great advance toward the future. Technology will become more and more advanced over the years. It will as so save so many lives. Buying the cameras will cost less, than a lawsuit from a family that has lost a loved one by the hands of a police officer. It will protect the community as well as the police department therefore improving the security of our society.
Alexander, Keith L. “New Role for District Police Body Cameras.” ProQuest. Washington Post, 26 Jan. 2015. Web. 12 May 2015.
McKenzie, Romero. “Forum Emphasizes Support for Police Body Cameras.” ProQuest. Deseret News Publishing Company, 4 Dec. 2014. Web. 12 May 2015.
“Putting Body Cameras on Cops.” ProQuest. The Los Angeles Times, 18 Dec. 2014. Web. 12 May 2015.
Saavedra, Tony. “From Batons to Body Cameras.” ProQuest. Orange County Register, 23 Sept. 2014. Web. 12 May 2015.