Indianapolis police testing use of body cameras while on duty

Police use of body cameras beginning in Indianapolis.

Privacy can be a difficult thing to attain in today's world. With GPS in cellphones tracking movement, apps that monitor internet usage, satellite cameras, phone cameras, and numerous other technologies, a person's movement and behavior seems to always be under surveillance. On one hand, constant monitoring can mean everyone is on their best behavior during traffic stops and other interactions with police. On the other hand, many are questioning privacy rights for citizens and whether the increasing use of technology as a law enforcement tool is infringing on Fourth Amendment rights.

In Indianapolis, police have begun a pilot program using body cameras to monitor arrests. The pilot program will last for 60 days. The cameras will record police interactions, arrests and any incidences. If no arrests occur, the video footage will not be kept. At the end of the trial period, the IMPD will decide whether to purchase the cameras and continue to use them. A dozen cameras will be in use during the pilot phase. Prosecutors may use video footage as evidence during criminal prosecution.

Over a dozen officers began testing the cameras on December 15, 2014. During the pilot program, the cameras will mostly monitor traffic stops, such as stops for suspicion of OWI, although cameras may be used during home searches and other incidents. Officers have the option of turning off body cameras while on break.

There has been a push for more transparency of police behavior after the nation has had to take a serious look at police brutality. The death of Eric Garner, the events in Ferguson, Missouri, and other instances of alleged police brutality have made some experts question whether video footage will help police maintain professionalism while on duty. Department of Public Safety Director Troy Riggs believes the use of body cameras may help protect public safety and add a tool for police training.

A criminal defense attorney can help

A police stop can be stressful for all involved. Even if not breaking the law, someone who is stopped by police may feel nervous or intimidated. If the stop involves suspicion of driving under the influence, many drivers may not behave as themselves even if not driving intoxicated.

Indianapolis residents who have been arrested and charged with a crime are facing serious consequences. The Law Office of John L. Thompkins can help those accused of a crime protect their constitutional rights, including their Fourth Amendment freedom from unreasonable search and seizure. Those facing criminal charges should immediately contact the experienced attorney John L. Thompkins to discuss their legal options and rights in criminal proceedings.

Keywords: Police, 4th Amendment, search and seizure.