Fitted with a Body Camera
If you’ve followed my blog, you know I am currently enrolled in our local Citizens Police Academy.
Last week offered lessons learned about making decisions. Certainly, our police officers make thousands of split second decisions every shift. My own mistakes in the Firearms Simulator gave me a new appreciation for the power the influence of others can have on decisions we make daily. (If you missed that post you can go back and read it HERE.)
This week, three teams presented information to our class: Force Science, the Body Worn Camera Unit, and the Integrity and Development Unit (think “internal affairs”). These areas offer critical, independent data to assess those decisions officers make in the field on a daily basis.
The underlying theme for each?
ACT: Accountability, Credibility, and Transparency.
I could certainly create a post for each. But not today. For this post, I want to explore the notion of “body cameras.”
Our presenter demonstrated how body cameras work, how the information cannot be altered by the person wearing it, and how the data is downloaded and stored at the end of each shift.
I looked to the woman beside me in class and jokingly said, “This could be a great tool for raising teenagers.” She laughed, but the truth is this: body camera information is only a small piece of the puzzle.
In this day and age of instant access to information, cell phones, and body cams, we often view events on television in what we may consider “real time.” I know many of us watch videos and immediately think we are seeing the whole truth unfold before our eyes.
I was privileged to raise three daughters. I watched them grow to be incredible women, wonderful wives and mothers. They are great people. I not only love them, I like them. Would I feel the same way if I had “body cam footage” from every aspect of their lives?
I can’t help but wonder how others would assess my life if all they had was the footage from a camera mounted to my vest.
They might see my refrigerator door open as I scan the contents for breakfast and choose a yogurt. They might think, “That’s healthy.” What they wouldn’t see is me wishing I hadn’t run out of chocolate pudding and making a mental note to buy more. Chocolate pudding for breakfast? I never said I make wise choices.
If I wore a body cam to a football game, viewers may see what I see and hear me cheer for my team, but the footage may or may not pick up on me knocking over the drink of the guy next to me. Yes, I can be a klutz. Hopefully, the footage will reveal I apologized and offered to buy him another drink.
When I was in college, would the camera have shown me doodling instead of taking notes or would it be aimed at the professor? Actually, that could be pretty good. Go to class, sleep through the class, download the lecture, and replay it as you study. Nah…if it put me to sleep the first time, I won’t make it through the next.
It could be hard to view my life through a single lens. Hard for anyone else to make sense of the million decisions I make each day. Some might judge me as being lazy while others might think I’m hyper. A single lens offers a single vantage point.
As for police and body cam footage or spectators and cell phone videos? These are only pieces of the story puzzle. Pieces.
There is a verse in the Bible that reads, “…be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.” It’s in the book of James. To me it’s a reminder to assemble all the pieces of the puzzle before rendering judgment.
I’m glad I’m not fitted with a body cam from God. If I had to stand before God one day and account for every mistake I’ve made that showed up on my body cam footage, I’d be in a heap of trouble. God already sees me for who I am and loves me anyway. And He’s already forgiven me.
Here is one rendition of a Body (and) Camera!