PD Editorial: Lawmakers do little to protect public right to body cam videos

Studies show that the use of police body cameras is a net benefit when it comes to maintaining the peace and promoting public understanding on the many challenges of police work. Given recent heated public debate about excessive force by police, cameras are more a part of the solution than the problem.

A 2013 study by researchers at Cambridge University found a 50 percent reduction of force — either by a police officer or a respondent — when body cameras were present. Moreover, the airing of video, in many cases, can lead to better public understanding, such as the recent release of footage regarding a Sonoma County sheriff’s deputy who used force in subduing an 18-year-old during a routine stop in Petaluma.