Transparency through Video Evidence

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How does video evidence help law enforcement achieve transparency? By giving both police and citizens access to what really happened. We talked to police chiefs about how their integrated body camera video system allows them to resolve issues and complaints quickly and satisfactorily.

99.99% of the time we do it right and the video, I believe, shows that.

Watch sample video of WatchGuard body-worn cameras and in-car cameras.

Video Transcript

Ret. Chief Jody Fanning, Phoenix Police Department, Arizona

“I found during my career in law enforcement that the sooner I talked to people and explain what happened, the happier they are and the sooner they will support you and back you. But even your most staunch allies, if they don’t know the answers, they’ll ask questions but if you give them the answers, then they will defend you tooth and nail. And I feel that the best way to do your job as a chief is to be upfront with your people.”

Chief Steve Dutra, North Pole Police Department, Alaska

“Video evidence has presented us with proof of operations. We believe in being above board on everything we do, we try to make sure we’re doing everything right and being open to the public about what we do, and so video evidence allows us to be able to show individuals the violations, the quality of policing that we do in our small community. It gives us accountability, it gives the citizens accountability.

“The biggest reason too I think is the citizen complaints. It’s very important for us to get to the bottom of those complaints when they come in, and when they come in, sometimes they’re pretty egregious, and sometimes they’re pretty far out there, but the video evidence has always been a savior for us. It proves that in fact almost all of them, I can’t recall any that we’ve had that were proven to be true, that the officer had some sort of misconduct. And to me that says a lot.”

Chief Allen Cummings, Pennsville Police Department, New Jersey

“When an incident happens and someone says something different, what a great way to find out the truth: You bring the video up. I really believe that’s part of my transparency plan also because now I know that anything that these officers are involved in and we’re questioned on, I have that, I have that evidence, I have that video. So if I need to get something to prove to the public or even to a defense attorney that this is the true story, this is what happens, I have it. I have in-car video and I’m gonna have the body camera video.”

Ret. Chief Jody Fanning, Phoenix Police Department, Arizona

“It also has evolved to the fact that now juries, they want to see it because we have lost some of our integrity in the world. Not because we’re bad cops, but because a few bad cops have gotten in trouble. The only way that we can bounce back from that is to continue down this path of showing the world we really do do it right, 99.99% of the time we do it right and the video, I believe, shows that.”