Thanks in part to a grant, 50 plainclothes officers will be hitting the streets with video cameras attached to their chests, at a $1,000 per instrument. Police Chief Greg Suhr claims that the implementation of this new method of conducting searches and serving warrants will eliminate any ambiguity or argument when it comes to whether someone has given permission for a search.
Additionally, this use of technology is also meant to keep individual citizens from claiming that they were treated in an unfair or unlawful manner. Shur insists that it is the police who will be in the spotlight, but will this really be the case? Besides San Francisco, there are other police departments that have been using chest-mounted cameras, places like Rialto (in San Bernardino County).
Of course, it would be wise for officers of the law to think before rejoicing about this new system. Actually, it’s been better for defendants in the past than it has for law enforcement. More often than not, footage from such cameras has been utilized to prove misconduct, rather than to prove that police acted responsibly and legally. One other group that has learned its lesson is the San Francisco Fire Department. Footage of the Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crash from helmet-mounted cameras caused such a stir that Chief Joanne Hayes-White has banned them, citing a 2009 policy already in place.