Possibly you’ve noticed the folks recently jumping on the “cops should wear bodycams” bandwagon, along with the usual statist counter-arguments. It usually boils down to “cameras would encourage cops to behave better and increase accountability” versus “cameras are too expensive, cops will just turn them off, and they don’t show everything”.

Meh. I notice that recording the Eric Garner incident in NY didn’t encourage better behavior, nor did it do a thing for accountability (c’mon; if nothing else – Garner’s death aside – it clearly documented a cop using a lethal technique specifically banned by his own department decades ago and which courts have found to be inappropriate because of its potential lethality.

Still, I fall in the make ’em wear cameras camp so long as we’re stuck with cops. Cops turn them off? Don’t give them OFF switches. DVR storage is cheap enough that you can record an entire shift, and save it for months. Doesn’t show everything? So what? It shows more than we have now.

But expense… Yeah, cameras, WiFi uplinks, DVR storage for all 600,000 800,000 million however-many-LEOs-there-are-now might get pricey. Just imagine trying to equip tens of millions of private citizens with camera-equipped smartphones that upload to the Inte…

Oh. Wait.

Still, it would cost something. So let’s get it subsidized. No, not by government. Television, a la Cops (bad boys, whatcha gonna do… Which also falsifies the argument that recording keeps cops on their ethical/professional toes). Studio provides cameras and associated gear, and gets the broadcast rights to all footage. We could have competing programs: COPS v2.0; all violence, no rights, all the time. IJ could sponsor a program that highlights abuses. NORMAL could run a series on Drug War failures, with special emphasis on collateral damage and wrong-house raids. The Comedy Channel might want to run a set of specials on cops at the shooting range during annual requalification.


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