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Law enforcement groups argue against body cameras

Posted March 9

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— Many law enforcement agencies across the country are using body cameras and Wednesday, some groups representing sheriffs and police officers in North Carolina told lawmakers the device should not be mandated by the state.

Body cameras are a big topic of conversation for many local agencies. Raleigh is considering them and Durham is in the final stages of approving the devices.

Wednesday, a group of representatives from the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association and the Association of Police Chiefs wanted to make it clear to state legislators that no agency should be forced to adopt the devices.

Eddie Caldwell, a spokesman for the sheriffs’ group, said body cameras are an expensive undertaking that each agency would be responsible for funding. For that reason, he said the implementation of body cameras should be up to the heads of each department, not the General Assembly.

“We don’t have legislation that mandates use of guns, cars, handcuffs, pepper spray, Taser, or any other equipment that law enforcement has,” said Caldwell. “That’s what the head of agencies are elected or appointed to manage for their agencies.”

Caldwell also said law enforcement leaders prefer deciding for themselves the rules on how and when cameras and recordings should be used.

Caldwell said Wednesday’s meeting went well and the subcommittee tasked with addressing body cameras was receptive to their suggestions.


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  • Fanny Chmelar Mar 15, 2016
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    I thought that maybe Shane was talking about the police.

  • Andy Jackson Mar 10, 2016
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    If these cameras are "required" at some point in NC, and I'm not saying whether they should be or not be.....but rest assured our taxes will increase to pay for them - whether it be local (county) or state taxes.

  • Melvin Denis Mar 10, 2016
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    JANET GHUMRI brings out many god points. It is more than just wearing the cameras. How long do we keep recordings? Who can get a copy? What will the copy cost? What keeps someone from editing the recording? There needs to be consistent state wide guidelines.

  • Chad Johnson Mar 10, 2016
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    I'm all for this after witnessing a few things first hand

  • Shane Taylor Mar 10, 2016
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    Comical reply. If people didn't break the law, we wouldn't have innocent mistakes being made...But we have criminals. So lets make it harder on everyone by adding harsher gun control, and not punish the felons the way they should be. Put a gun in every good civilians hand and watch crime drop after a handful of th*gs turn up in the morgue and on the news...

  • Chase Truman Mar 10, 2016
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    This bothers me because it makes me feel like they have something to hide. Hmmmmmm.

  • Janet Ghumri Mar 10, 2016
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    The initial cost is easy to approve or deny, that is just dollars and cents. How much will the training and upkeep of the units and system cost? Again, probably pretty straight forward, but the long term costs and feasibility may be more than we can calculate.
    How is the information edited and stored? How long and who has access? When mistakes are made (and they will be), who bears the burden? (By mistakes, I mean technical, mechanical or judgemental as related to storage or editing).
    We are looking at high profile cases, now, but for day to day issues, will this be a new 'catch all' for defense attorneys to manipulate? (Meaning, contaminated evidence if edited or stored improperly)
    If Instituted, What are the implications to officers privacy? When they are on duty, privacy can be waived as a job requirement, but again, mistakes happen. Will the officers become camera shy and hesitant? I believe that BC's can be a great asset, but they do come with great responsibility.

  • Larry Price Mar 10, 2016
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    I think body cameras are of great benefit to police agencies. they show how the police respond correctly and appropriately in the vast majority of instances, often using far more restraint in difficult situations than people often realize.

  • Crystal Czeck Mar 10, 2016
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    If they wear camera's, the race cards will stay in peoples pockets and they may actually have to come to terms with the fact that their family member is a criminal. Win-win.

  • Robert Richardson Mar 10, 2016
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    Don't break the law huh? You do realize people are arrested, beaten and/or shot everyday and didn't break the law when it happened. Of course not. You one of those in denial people. Just one example for you. I am guessing in your mind he broke the law by standing in his kitchen cooking dinner and wasn't the person they were looking for. I can give other examples too if you want but then again you could use google to find them yourself although I know you won't. Don't want to burst the fantasy world you and others live in.