The Left Demanded Police Body Cams. USDOJ Data Shows They’ve Had NO Impact on (Already Rare) Use of Force.

Law Enforcement Today

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Police body cameras have no impact on use of force or a variety of variables per the US Department of Justice.

Is this because the data indicates that force or the threat of force by police officers is relatively rare?

Data from the CrimeSolutions.Gov indicate that police body cameras have no impact on use of force or a variety of variables measured (officer injuries, officer-initiated calls for service, traffic stops, field interviews, and arrest incidents). The USDOJ article summarizing multiple studies is below.

There will be endless people bewildered by the results. If one looks at the data as to citizen surveys regarding their interactions with cops, it shouldn’t be surprising.

I’m going to focus on use of force because that was the most important variable measured. Cameras were supposed to keep cops honest and eliminate unnecessary coercion.

The public narrative (via media accounts) over the last five years suggests that cops are semi-brutal oppressors who violate the rights of people (especially minorities) and are simply too quick to use force. Videos of “cops gone wrong” have tens of millions of views. Mandating the use of body cameras would reduce the use of violence because there would be evidence of malfeasance.

But that assumes that there is empirical evidence that the narrative lives up to the reality.

Gators And “The Narrative”

I live in Florida; alligators live right behind my house in a pond.  People see endless videos of gators walking through public streets and yards. Videos of gators being menacing are common; they have millions of views.

Thus I have friends afraid to visit us because of a perception that’s simply false. In 99.99 percent of the time, gators do everything they can to avoid humans. As I ride my bike, grandmothers walk their small dogs through gator-infested park-swamplands without a care in the world.

Yes, there is an occasional gator attack, usually when someone does something stupid. But attacks are light-years from the norm.

Yes, there are obviously times when cops do something stupid or criminal and yes, when caught on video, it’s seen endlessly thus influencing a narrative that cops are out of control.

Is the perception accurate?

Out of 40 Million Police Contacts-Two to Three Percent Involve Force “Or” Threat Of Force

An estimated 40 million U.S. residents age 16 or older, or about 17 percent of the population, had a face-to-face contact with a police officer in one year. Among people who had face-to-face contacts, about nine out of 10 residents felt the police were respectful or acted properly, Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Having said this, it’s inevitable that out of 40 million yearly encounters, some will go bad. It’s a statistical reality.

Per the Bureau of Justice Statistics study, police used or threatened to use force in less than two percent of contacts.

Police Citizen Contacts

Some media commentators suggest that police use of force is growing/common/frequent during police-initiated stops. Less than 3% of U.S. residents experienced a threat “or” use of force during their most recent police-initiated contact.

Contrary to media reports, the use of force decreased for police-initiated contacts from 3.3 to 2.8 percent.

Contrary to critics, police-initiated arrests decreased considerably, 815,000 in 2015-386,000 in 2018, Contacts Between Police and the Public.

Estimates As To Police Killings Of Unarmed Black Men By Law Enforcement-The Skeptic (rearranged quotes)

In a chart offered by The Skeptic, people (based on political affiliation) estimated the number of unarmed Black men killed by law enforcement in 2019.

Estimates ranged from 100 to 1,000 to 10,000 to more than 10,000 with those claiming a liberal affiliation leading the way as to higher estimates. However, all groups including moderates to conservatives grossly exaggerated the numbers.

According to the Washington Post database, regarded as the “most complete database,” 13 unarmed black men were fatally shot by police in 2019. According to a second database called “Mapping Police Violence”, compiled by data scientists and activists, 27 unarmed black men were killed by police (by any means) in 2019, The Skeptic.

“Unarmed” doesn’t mean that the person didn’t impose a threat to himself or others. It doesn’t mean that a police officer could justifiably believe that he was armed (i.e., taking a shooter’s stance with a shiny object or was a suicide-death by cop).

According to Department of Justice research, most violent crime does not involve a firearm yet victims are routinely injured or killed.

Law Enforcement-One Of The Most Respected Institutions

Study after study, poll after poll state that the vast majority of Americans give police very high marks. While there are differences based on race or income or age or political affiliation, the majority of Americans, regardless of demographics, rate cops highly and want law enforcement in their communities, Police Public Opinion.

Conclusions/Opinions

Body cameras didn’t cut use of force because, according to citizen polls as to police actions or behaviors, it’s extraordinarily rare.

I fully understand that no amount of empirical evidence will convince detractors but the data supports my conclusions. The narrative of “out of control” cops is ingrained in our collective understanding of law enforcement prompting thousands to leave the profession.

Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are thousands of officers leaving the job.  There are cities throughout the country stating that they do not have enough police officers to respond to calls. Per the Police Executive Research Forum, there is a 63 percent reduction in police recruitment. Crime (and fear of crime) is growing rapidly.

Officers tell me that they are tired of a false narrative. Their family members are insisting they get out. Many officers feel that the American public has abandoned them.

Illegal and unwarranted use of force by police officers is a reality and should be condemned and prosecuted. Every cop in the country understands this. Every citizen, regardless of who they are, needs to be treated with dignity and respect.

But the endless narratives as to “all” cops being brutal is a false stereotype as vicious as racism or sexism. If you are capable of condemning one million cops over the actions of a few, you are capable of any “ism.” It’s no wonder that police officers are bailing.

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