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Wednesday, April 7, 2010 as of 11:14 AM ET

Crime

Claudia Cowan

San Francisco, CA

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Helmet Cams for Cops

November 3, 2009 - 1:14 PM | by: Claudia Cowan

Police say dash-cams, taser cams and home videos, which make such good fodder for television news, only tell part of the story.

Starting in a few weeks, officers in San Jose, Calif., will become the first in the nation to field-test the Axon– a miniature digital camera integrated into their uniforms –  to record events as they happen. Rank and file officers told us they’re curious to see how the cameras work, but welcome a new hi-tech tool to help compile critical evidence, and protect them from false allegations of misconduct.

Right now, there are several such investigations underway in San Jose, including allegations of excessive force against a student arrested for assault. A rooommate’s cell phone video of the incident has caused controversy about the officer’s behavior, but union leaders say that video doesn’t tell the whole story. Many officers told us they like the idea of having a complete, tamper-proof, video record that’s admissible in court, so a jury can see first-hand what the officer said, saw, and did.

And if a cop uses excessive force, department heads will see that, too. The department is developing it’s camera policy, but it’s believed officers would be required to record any interactions that could be questioned later. The bottom line is this — at a time when they seem to be videotaped by everyone else, police say it’s about time they got their own cameras rolling, to shine some light on the truth.

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