Israel Police to Follow US Trend, Equip Officers With Body Cams in 2016
Israeli police officers will join their peers across the Atlantic in 2016 and begin to don a “body cam” when they head out to the field.
In the United States, the use of the tiny video cameras worn on police uniforms became part of standard policy after the controversy over the 2014 Ferguson Police shooting of a young, large teen who was attacking the officer.
But the practice actually became policy in some departments even earlier: in the city of Oakland, California, police report a 72 percent drop in “use-of-force incidents” five years after starting to outfit officer with body cams. NYPD began piloting a similar project just over a year ago, with similar results.
“The decision was made due to an understanding of the effectiveness of using personal cameras on police officers,” said Israel Police on Wednesday. The department said the practice is being used to increase “transparency in the work of the police and as an important tool in building trust in the contact between officer and citizen.”
The plan was first advanced in a proposal to the Knesset by Likud MK Avraham Neguise last May. Neguise recommended that police officers wear body cameras while making arrests.
The recommendation came in response to the brouhaha that erupted following publicity surrounding footage in April that showed two police officers beating an IDF soldier of Ethiopian heritage, Damas Pakada, in Holon.
Neguise introduced the bill as a way to “solve the problem of police brutality directed against those in Israel with Ethiopian origin, and against other citizens in general… [it will also] reduce the number of false complaints of police brutality” as well, he added.