POLICE Magazine Supplements

Civil Unrest 2017

Magazine for police and law enforcement

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S P E C I A L R E P O R T: C I V I L U N R E S T 13 The use of body-worn cameras in pub- lic order operations is complicated. ere are some very real tactical and practical concerns that agencies need to consider and there are legal issues that may affect the agency's ability to capture images of peaceful demonstrators. Whether body cameras can be effec- tively employed during a public order event depends on a variety of factors. If the march or demonstration remains peaceful and officers remain in patrol uniforms with no helmets, then the use of body cameras is not much different than it would be in any patrol interaction with the public. department's HWI Elite Defender (www. hwigear.com) riot gear. Cleveland officers wear TASER Axons, and when word of the problem reached TASER (www.taser. com), the company loaned the Cleveland PD 300 special mounts so the riot officers could wear cameras. In January, the London Metropolitan Police announced that their public order officers would wear body cameras during future incidents. e riot squad officers are wearing their cameras in the same type of mount that was used in Cleve- land.—David Griffith Body-Worn Cameras at Civil Disturbances However, there are cases where filming a protest is prohibited by local ordinance. Some cities have policies that prohibit officers from filming people lawfully ex- ercising their First Amendment rights at protests. Some of those do, however, al- low the filming of unlawful activity at the protests. Once things turn unlawful, however, it can be difficult to capture any viable foot- age with body cameras. Riot officers wear helmets with shields, which don't eas- ily accommodate head-mounted systems. Torso mounted systems can be blocked by shields or pulled off by violent subjects. Which is why the Cleveland Division of Police announced before last summer's Republican National Convention that its public order officers would not be using body cameras at the event. e reason was that they could not be mounted to the Body-worn camera use at protests is complicated. If legally allowed, they can be used before protests become violent. PHOTO: PANASONIC freeinfo.policemag.com/763010

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