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Detroit police to wear body cameras by 2019

As the U.S. continues to grapple with the issue of African Americans being the repeated victims of police shootings, many people have called for officers to wear body cameras. They believe that these cameras would provide an objective recording of confrontations between police and suspects, and may deter aggressive or illegal police procedure.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan agrees with the idea. He recently announced that all police officers and marked patrol cars in the city will be equipped with cameras by 2019. Duggan said he wants “every officer-citizen interaction” to be recorded, in order to “hold people accountable who do something wrong.” Body cameras would also contradict false accusations against police or suspects, Duggan added.

Currently, around half of the department’s marked cars have dashboard cameras, while another quarter have cameras that need maintenance. When asked why the entire fleet is not already equipped with working cameras, Duggan cited Detroit’s longstanding budget problems, and promised that all marked cars would have cameras within a year.

The body cameras will be strapped to police officers’ chests. They and the dashboard cameras will be connected to an integrated system, making it easier to compare footage, according to the Detroit Free Press.

The proposal has the support of Police Chief James Craig, who said he was “extremely excited.”

Body cameras will likely make some officers think twice before violating a suspect’s rights or using excessive force. Police play an important role in society, but left unchecked, officers’ actions sometimes lead to tragedy.

When an officer violates your rights, there may not be anything you can do about it at the time, but you may be able to obtain justice in court, through evidence getting thrown out, or charges dismissed.

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