I’ve yet to see any video from a personal video recorder, although I did see one Mesa police officer that was walking around with one of those devices over their ear so obviously other agencies have access to these devices as well. It is quite amazing to see. It is also quite amazing to see what is written in the police report and what shows up on video. If we only had the police reports, the police officer’s written narrative, we would get an entirely different picture than what we have by viewing the video.
Interviewer: It appears that video cameras actually could help cases, even though most people think a video record could hurt them but unfortunately the use of cameras is not widespread.
Video Recording Helps the Officer as well as the Suspect
Brian Sloan: I think the objection to video cameras has always been the Arizona heat. It really is an excuse. In my opinion, there’s no reason not to have video cameras. Video cameras are fantastic because the tape protects the officer as well as protecting the suspect.
I’m sure there are officers that had to deal with people who have made allegations of sexual misconduct or that the officer physically abused the suspect. This can be proven true or false through a videotape recording.
There are many instances where an officer will say that the person was weaving all over the road and a person who is charged with an offense will say, “No. I wasn’t weaving all over the road.” It’s a very simple issue. Someone is right. Someone is wrong. A videotape recording will solve the problem.
A Video Recording Can Save the Government an Innumerable Amount of Hours and the Taxpayers Valuable Tax Dollars
In my opinion, there are a lot of cases that go to trial simply on the theory that the officer is either mistaken or lying, whereas, if we had a videotape the case may not go to trial. The expense of installing video cameras in police officer vehicles or on the police themselves is well worth the amount of time a recording can save. This includes the time it takes to assemble a jury, the courtroom’s time, the judge’s time, the defense attorney’s time, the prosecutor’s time and the officer’s time.
All that time could all be saved by simply having videotape because if there is proof that the officer is wrong, I don’t see the case going to trial.
A videotape recording would really save the entire system a lot of money. It seems to be the case that police officers that really don’t want videotape, the reason being that they, themselves, are considered a reliable source. They are the one that has the credibility and they don’t want a videotape to come out and say otherwise.
Are the Police Stations and Jails Equipped with Video Cameras?
Interviewer: Are there video cameras inside the police cars, the police station, or in the jails?
Brian Sloan: There are video cameras in the jail, and I know for a fact in the Fourth Avenue jail. Occasionally, there are some police cameras in the police stations. I believe they used to have video cameras in police cars, in the DUI van, in the police station, but over the past ten years, I think the only source to get videotape is through Fourth Avenue jail. And then, it is only if someone is booked and very few people who are charged with misdemeanor DUI actually get booked into jail. Only maybe about half the people charged with felony DUI end up going through the jail.