After months of consideration, the San Francisco Police Commission approved rules Wednesday for use of the latest innovation sweeping law enforcement nationwide — police body-worn cameras. Toney Chaplin, San Francisco’s acting police chief, had announced on his first full day in the job last month that deploying body cameras was his top priority. Just strapping cameras to police officers, however, won’t solve anything. The commission’s rules are a reasonable starting point, but it must monitor deployment closely and be prepared to shift course if the program falters.
There is unusual consensus that it’s a good idea to deploy body cameras. Policecommanders support it. The privacy-conscious American Civil Liberties Union (where I used to work) does, too. Public support is very broad: 88 percent of Americanssupport body cameras. For once, political ideology barely matters. Ninety-one percent of self-reported Democrats, 88 percent of Republicans and 87 percent of independents supported requiring officers to wear body cameras. The White House has pledged millions of dollars to speed their adoption.
Read the full piece at the San Francisco Chronicle.