Feeds

Washington cops may be compelled to use gun-cams

GunTube shoot uploads to 'improve community relations'

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Cops in Washington DC could soon be compelled to fit their pistols with cameras that would record gunsight video in every situation in which the weapons were drawn, according to reports.

According to US network NBC, District of Columbia council member Harry "Tommy" Thomas has introduced a draft local bill which would compel city plods to fit their shooters with under-barrel cam modules. The bill is under consideration by the DC judicial committee.

Gun camera technology is relatively simple to make, and is already available off the shelf. Most modern semi-automatic pistols have mounting rails beneath the frame allowing accessories such as tactical lights or laser sights to be attached, and cameras can easily be fitted to these. Typically the camera is set to start recording both sound and video as soon as the weapon is drawn from its holster - a rare event for most American police officers, other than on the firing range.

Such cameras are on trial with US cops, but aren't yet in routine use. The idea is that they could safeguard police from malicious accusations of wrongful shooting - and also, of course, make it much easier to penalise police in the case of mistakes or trigger-happiness.

Pistol-cams are being tried out at the moment by cops in Orange County, New York, following a controversial shooting by plods in the city of Newburgh. In the case of Antonio Bryant, shot dead by police in 2006, the street version of the story differs massively from the one told by the cops.

Local politicians - and some senior police officers - believe that gun cameras could enhance community relations in future cases by providing solid proof that cops have acted reasonably. Presumably this would involve making shooting footage public in some way - perhaps via YouTube, the favoured channel for the plods' enemies to distribute their propaganda. This would be technically simple, current gun-cam models being fitted with mini-USB connections.

Others reckon that the knowledge of being recorded will ensure that officers stick more strictly to their rules of engagement.

Newburgh top cop Eric Paolilli said: "We believe it is a cutting edge technology that will enhance police officer training and it will enable us to better our cooperation and interaction with the City of Newburgh community." However, he also suggested that shoulder or head-mouted cams of the type sometimes used by British cops, parking-enforcement people and even lollipop crossing guards would also be good. This would prevent harassed plods from drawing their guns simply to get a situation on video.

Police officers' union representatives in Newburgh, on the other hand, have predicted stiff resistance from their membership to the idea of gun-cams. Though presumably only the guilty cops would have anything to fear.

In Orange County, anyway, there is no roadmap toward the kit being routinely deployed. But in Washington DC, if Thomas gets his way, things could move faster. The US capital has serious community-vs-police issues and a high rate of gun violence.

A camera option is also available for the Taser electric stungun, which tends to get a lot more attention when used than ordinary firearms - certainly in countries where police are routinely armed, anyway. This has meant that the Taser-cam has actually been available for longer than the pistol-cam. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'
Denies Q&A cameo was meant to slam US, big-up Russia
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Judge halts spread of zombie Nortel patents to Texas in Google trial
Epic Rockstar patent war to be waged in California
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.