How cameras are effecting law enforcement
From surveillance pictures, to cell phone video and dash cams.
Cameras are now constantly recording.
Putting our law enforcement officers in front of the lenses and on their guard.
I tell my deputies all the time, always perform your functions as a sheriffs deputy as if you’re being recorded 24/7.
In an effort to embrace rather than fight an ever vigilant society Sheriff Mike Lewis like other law enforcement leaders across the country are trying to go one step further with body cameras.
Lewis said, “It certainly serves to better professionalize our agency. I have no problem with that at all.”
But Lewis admits his deputies in Wicomico County won’t be getting them anytime soon because of funding and logistics.
However the Fruitland Police Department does have them.
They’re the only law enforcement agency in Wicomico County equipped with this technology.
With the average citizen toting cell phones ready to take video at any given moment, the body camera can offer a level of protection for officers who also have to defend themselves against allegations of police brutality.
“Anytime you apply the use of force, it’s not a pretty situation. It’s not supposed to be a pretty situation. Most of the time we get it right in law enforcement, but there are times we don’t get it right.” Said Lewis.
When it comes to prosecuting or defending the law video is now playing an even more important role.
Luke Rommel of Otway, Russo, and Rommel P.C. spoke on the role video has played in the court of law, saying, “In the past you would have a police report, and you’d have your client’s testimony and then you’d have a judge or a jury making a decision as to which one has to be believed.”And “It’s a game changer really.”
Especially when accounts from both sides don’t quite add up.
“It can be such a challenge whenever you’re going against the grain of a police narrative or police testimony which often times in credible but without the video it’s almost impossible to defend it.”Says Rommel.
The implementation of body cameras for the Salisbury Police is still being discussed.