I was reading this extract on Reuters earlier and was blown away. It is fantastic to see how creatively camera apps are being used for the peoples' benefit for once, especially in the wake of the Walter Scott case.
Whilst the majority of the police force are upholding the law properly, as with any huge organization, there are going to be some bad apples whom are corrupted by the power that the badge brings and joined the police force for entirely the wrong reasons. This bright civil liberties group have revolutionized the use of a camera through this app, making it easier than ever for average citizens and bystanders to show what is happening at a crime scene. As this app is rolled out in more and more major cities, I can imagine a day in the not too distant future when police misconduct is completely wiped out:
A California civil liberties group launched a mobile application on Thursday that will let bystanders record cell phone videos of possible cases of police misconduct and then quickly save the footage to the organization's computer servers.
The California chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union said the app will send the video to the organization and preserve it even if a phone is seized by police or destroyed.
The launch of the ACLU's "Mobile Justice CA" app comes as law enforcement agencies face scrutiny over the use of lethal force, especially against African-Americans, following several high-profile deaths of unarmed black men in encounters with police over the last year in the United States.
"It's critical that people understand what is being done by police officers, because what is being done is being done in the name of the public," said Hector Villagra, executive director of the ACLU of Southern California.
The app is targeted at residents of the most populous U.S. state, but ACLU chapters have launched similar mobile apps in at least five other states, including New York, Missouri and Mississippi over the last three years.
It also sends an alert to anyone with the app who might be in the area, giving them an opportunity to go to the location and observe, the ACLU said.
Villagra said the ACLU, in looking at which cases to delve into more deeply, will prioritize those that come with a written report, which is another element users can submit through the app. Records of incidents from users living in other states will be sent to ACLU officials there, he said.
ACLU officials advised anyone interacting directly with officers who wants to use the app to announce they are reaching for a phone, because officers might mistake the device for a weapon.
A representative from the California Peace Officers Association declined to comment immediately on the app.
In the past, advocates for police have expressed concern that people videotaping officers might interfere with their duties in an already tense situation.
This week in Los Angeles, the city's Police Commission approved rules governing the use of body cameras as its police department moves toward becoming the largest in the nation to put the devices into widespread use.
Some people may argue that we entrust our police force to make tough decisions and that video footage and stills can be taken out of context... but the bottom line is that when all we have to go on is the word of the police officer that was there, it is possible that the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth could be skewed somewhat. Video footage can cast vital light onto such situations with far less ambiguity and justice can be served.