(June 2, 2017) - Hello readers, and after a few weeks off welcome to another entry in our ongoing "Ask CCPD" column. Questions are rolling in now, and they are all saved and stored for the vault, so keep them coming! This week's question is a good one, from Bethany:
"Since the release of your body cameras have you had any issues with the function that causes your officers to dislike them?"
Ah, body cameras. We could talk about these forever most likely, and I'll cover as much as I can for you, Bethany. By and large, our officers like the body cameras. I have heard very few complaints ever regarding them, and I enjoyed having one myself when I was assigned to Patrol.
You asked about their function, so we'll start there with their physical function, not their philosophical one. We started first with the "lipstick" style Axon Flex camera, which can be worn in a variety of places and is wired to the battery/power pack. (Picture below) These were designed to be worn on the shoulder epaulet, collar, hat brim, or clipped to the side of glasses. Hat brim wear is very limited due to the very limited situations our uniform policy allows a hat. The epaulet is also no longer an option because the video tended to tilt at around a 45 degree angle; still capturing what it needed but not easy to watch.
Most officers still using the lipstick-style camera wear it on the collar, or on glasses that can be changed out from clear lenses to sunglasses. The newer style cameras are integrated into the battery/power pack and are worn in the center of the chest, without need for the connecting wire or multiple body locations.
This newer camera is called the Axon Body (manufactured by Taser International, as is the Flex). Occasionally this magnet-mounted camera can dislodge from the officer during a scuffle or strenuous movement, but the angle for filming is more consistent.
Other than the actual wearing, officers must pick up and drop off these cameras every shift, which was an adjustment at first and is time taken off the road when most officers want to get out there and work. It has quickly become just another facet and tool of the job, however.
As for the more philosophical aspect of wearing a body camera, again most if not all officers have no problem wearing one. We do our jobs to the best of our ability, and that includes being courteous and professional. When we are not courteous and professional we are held accountable by our department and by the public, but this isn't new to body cameras. It's as simple as doing your job the right way, and now we just have cameras as "backup" that can show the good and the bad, the dangerous and the funny, the emotional and the lighthearted sides of what we do.
Body cameras could be discussed at length, but I hope this blog post has answered your question. Keep those questions coming by submitting them right here or on one of our social media channels. See you again soon!
About the Author:
Corporal Philip Mullen is a nine year law enforcement veteran assigned to the Office of the Chief of Police and serves as Assistant Public Affairs Officer for the Cape Coral Police Department.
For the last 9 years, Corporal Mullen served as a Patrol Officer in our Patrol Bureau, and as a Field Training Officer, preparing new recruits for the rigors of police work over the past 5 years. Corporal Mullen is a member of the Cape Coral Police Department Honor Guard and has represented the Cape Coral Police Department across the United States. He is a recipient of two Lifesaving Awards and the department's highest honor, the Medal of Honor. Phil holds a Bachelor's Degree in Public Safety Administration from Edison State College.
CAPE CORAL POLICE DEPARTMENT | Public Affairs Office | 1100 Cultural Park Boulevard | Cape Coral, FL 33990 | (239) 242-3341