Posted by & filed under Cloud Computing, Cyberforensics, Data storage, Digital Policy, Privacy.

Description: Sgt. Brandon Davis vividly recalled the moment before he killed Eric Wayne Berry, but it was not the way it really happened.


Date: Feb 21, 2012

The shooting, tragedy that it was, was speedily cleared by his superiors because the entire incident was captured on tape. “It happened at noon on a Wednesday,” Sergeant Davis said. “I first watched it with the police psychiatrist on Thursday morning. I got out of there and I was cleared for work.” He has watched it many times since then, to shed any lingering doubts about his course of action.

Sergeant Davis, who now works on the police force in nearby Greenwood, was testing a new kind of camera, to be worn by an officer, when his fatal encounter was recorded in November 2009. Since then, both the hardware and software in the system have been significantly modified by Taser International, the maker of the camera. Taser is better known for stun guns that deliver a painful and immobilizing electric shock.   Read Rest of Story

Questions for discussion:

  1. Who would benefit most from ths application of cloud technology, the officer or the citizen? Why?
  2. Do you feel that police unions should support and endorse this technology?  Why?

20 Responses to “Taser’s Latest Police Weapon: The Tiny Camera and the Cloud”

  1. CAP

    I think this new technology will definitely help both citizens and the police officers. If the officer or the citizen is doing what they are suppose to do then they should not have to worry about having a camera recording the situation they are in. I think this is the biggest evidence they can have. It will help with investigations and will help solve crime. The only thing that should be changed is that the video would not capture the events leading up to that point and provides no context that might justify the weapon’s use. This flaw should be changed by having the camera on at all times during the shirt. Like it says in the article, people do act like better citizens when on camera. This way, people will know to act better than they would if there was no camera present. I think it is a smart idea to have cameras on every police officer that way they will not be able to lie about certain situations. Also, there are some people who forget certain important facts when they are in shock so the cameras will eliminate that. They should definitely be making more cameras for police officers to have when they are on duty.

  2. Logan Woo

    After reading that article I am greatly surprised at the actions taken by some of the police forces. Although we rely on the police to save us from an intruder in our homes and rescue us from serious car crashes an animosity to the police has been growing through the viewing of horrible police brutality. I believe that the Cloud storage would be a great benefit to both the police force and the citizens using the premise “actions speak louder than words” to clear all allegations on both sides by watching video coverage of the event. Although there is many instances where the police have gone too far in harassing an individual there is many cases in which individuals falsify the truth in hopes to obtain a small portion of the 2.3 billion dollar settlement fees that are paid out each year. I completely agree that Police unions should endorse this product because of the safety and video evidence issues it will clear up. Police offers will be able to competently do their jobs without the constant fear of a lying detainee and civilians will be able to interact safely with police in a manner that is kind and courteous for some. As it was said “When people know they are on camera, they act like better citizens,”.

  3. carl

    The only person that would not benefit from the application of this cloud technology would be the person who is in the wrong, whether it be the police or the civilian. In general I believe this cloud technology would help the officer the most. Because they are supposed to be the trained individual upholding the law for all civilians, therefore the camera would be there to back the officers choice to take action. As in the case of sergeant Davis he was in the right and the civilian was in the wrong. The video reinforced that Davis repeatedly asked the civilian to drop his weapon and it wasn’t until the civilian pulled the gun on the officer that he had to take lethal force. If Davis didn’t have the camera there would have been a big review of the case to see if lethal action was in fact needed. All officers are not angels and that is why this camera would also benefit civilians. Some officers feel they can abuse or overpower civilians, simply because they got a badge. Even just the presence of the camera on the officer, would make him think twice about throwing that extra punch or trying to charge someone for something they didn’t do.

  4. IDR

    I like this type of technology. I agree with CAP, when a person is doing what they are supposed to be doing, there should not be an issue of whether they are on camera or not. This camera is a great improvement for law enforcement officers; being a police officer is something that would be intimidating, especially in bigger cities where crime is everywhere and you never know what could happen next. I can also see how it would benefit the citizen, since we know how some police officers tend to over-step their boundaries and authority.
    My concern is, the integrity of the video after it has been recorded. I believe that the video file should be un-editable, period. I also think that the police officer should not have control of the camera at all times, if they do this would give him/her power to turn the camera off at will to protect themselves.
    In general, I think this would be a good tool that could benefit both the citizen and the officer, but they should implement secure rules to protect the integrity of the file.

  5. Jon

    I believe that the technology of the tiny camera benefits both the citizen and the officer, but the officer benefits the most. When recalling the incident, the officer said that he told the suspect twice to drop his weapon. Video technology proved it was nine times. In the heat-of-the-moment, officers shouldn’t be trying to remember every detail of the event, or wonder how they are going to defend themselves against an onslaught of accusations of improper conduct. They should be focusing on serving and protecting. They should be following procedure and acting in the appropriate way. The video allows them to do this. It kept him his job, allowing him to be cleared quickly instead of facing a possible disciplinary process. It also helped him gain peace of conscience when he reviewed the tape, to know that he acted in the right way. A barrage of accusations may have caused the officer to doubt if, in fact, he did do the right thing. Who knows what psychological problems may have ensued from this?
    The technology helps the citizen, as he or she knows that when the camera is on, the police are accountable for his or her actions, and shouldn’t behave inappropriately; but the benefits to the officer, in the long run, are more advantageous.

  6. BK

    The Hawthorne effect would be demonstrated perfectly by police using this technology. Not only would the police work more efficiently, and make correct decisions, but I think that citizens would also tend to react differently if we knew we were being watched. I think both the officer and the citizen would be able to benefit from this technology. As in the example of Sergeant Davis, he had the reassurance that he made the correct decision, and he was cleared to go back to work right away. As for citizens, we are given the benefit of knowing whether or not the right actions were taking during the events of a crime. Knowing this can give us more trust and confidence in our police forces (if they make right choices). I think that police unions should support and endorse this technology because although expensive, this technology can determine things of invaluable costs such as peace and assurance of having made a right decision, and convicting criminals that may have gotten off for a crime otherwise.

  7. MJJ

    As stated by others, both police officers and civilians can benefit from the cameras and use of cloud computing. People cannot accurately remember situations, some details are forgotten and others are enhanced. Like the officer stating that he told the victim to drop his weapon twice, when in fact he had told him nine times.

    The fact that the video is automatically stored remotely on the cloud eliminates, at least the immediate threat, of tampering with or deleting the video. The use of the cloud enhances the ability to collaborate between law enforcement departments and jurisdictions. It can allow for easier resolution to officer involved incidents. As stated in the article, the officer involved in the shooting was back on the job shortly, much more quickly than if traditional investigation methods would have had to be employed.

    Police unions should support and endorse this technology. The benefits of the cameras and cloud technology can potentially save a lot of time and money that could be spent investigating ‘incidents’. The initial investment might seem large, especially to some smaller departments, however the potential savings are huge. Officers and civilians alike could be quickly cleared of any wrong doing, saving not only money but time and the mental strain of being investigated.

  8. neltum

    The advantages of using this new technology will not only benefits the police officer and the citizen but its also help the government knowing that every year police spend $2 billion to 2.5 billion a year paying off complaints about brutality. These billions of dollar are coming from our taxes and if the implementation of this new technology will be successful I’m sure it creates additional saving for the government. Tasers also provide a safety benefit to police officers as they have a greater deployment range than batons, pepper spray or empty hand techniques. This allows police to maintain a safe distance. My only suggestion for this new technology is to enhance some of its feature to make it more reliable. My main concern is that the officer can choose when to turn his camera on and off. This means that the police officer can fabricate anything what camera can capture. I believe that police unions should support and endorse this technology because of so many features that will help both sides. Features such as the built in camera that records and monitors all the accident, designed as a video surveillance system that records police officer response calls, the Axon system is meant to give people a first hand view of what an officer sees and encounters while in the line of duty. And most important with a 2009 Police Executive Research Forum study stating that officer injuries drop by 76% when a Taser is used

  9. Rose

    Whatsoever that would help the police officers to their job effectively should be supported not only by government, but also company, family, community and friends. Video technology should be at every corner, watching and recording as well. Camera also should have a high resolution, copy actions from any distance. Though the security of the security officer is unquestionable but they too need to be protected from any harm at anytime. Every gadgets that would allow the officers to do the job well, will make the officer be efficient and effective. He or she would be ready to face any challenges arising from the clouding work as well, the purpose and reasons to be the officer would be fulfilled. Camera and Video cannot lie; it reflects even the action, step, and processes how the incident happen. If people knew that not only all eyes on them, including the unmovable camera eye staring at them 24-7, they would be conscious of their act, of which they cannot deny. Every action should be traceable, and accurate judgment should be placed on it without a bias mind or motives.

  10. Sarah Fletcher

    I am not sure this technology is worth the investment. I think in the end the police force will benefit because I believe there can be a lot of corruption within the field and I am concerned that the videos would simply be edited to make the police force look good in any circumstance. If the camera does not record until the officer draws his gun, then anything leading up to that point is missed in the recording. Therefore, even if the videos remain unedited I think this gap in the recording leaves a lot to be inferred. It’s hard to say objectively who was in the wrong when only part of the event is caught on camera. However, in all fairness the idea behind the technology is beneficial. Its purpose is to benefit the innocent party involved. In many circumstances it could help close cases. I think if this is pursued further that it is key to use the cloud.
    I’m not sure I would support police unions endorsing this investment. I think that the money that they would have to spend could be used in more effective ways. Even though this could be a useful solution, I do not think it warrants how large of an investment it would require.

  11. JX

    Both officer and the citizen can get benefit from this application of cloud technology. Frist, I admit sometimes I have different behaviors in the area with camera such as when driving time. Officers can get the most effective, most real evidences or hint, and then they may solve the event because of these evidences. It can reduce officers’ mistakes. There is no doubt that officer gets many benefits from this application of cloud technology. However, I think citizen can get more benefit than officer gets. Final purpose of officer using it is to keep and create a safe society, so if they can keep society’s safety by using this application, I think citizens will be the biggest beneficiaries. Furthermore, that is a key reason that I agree police unions should support and endorse this technology. However, police should promise that citizens’ privacy does not get invasion. In last summer, in China, a photo from police’s camera was so hot topic. A couple is having some intimate action when they drive the car, and the camera took this photo and someone posted that photo on Internet. It causes a big controversy about the police camera and citizens’ privacy. To sum up, I think this application is so good.

  12. Ellie

    I believe that the new technology of the tiny camera will help both the police officer and citizens. We need to relay on the police officer to save us during this critical time. Also, the officers need to have enough guarantees to protect themselves. Thanks to the tiny camera, it helps the police officer work well. As the article said, the officer said that he remembered he asked the criminal to drop weapon. However, the video recorded the officer said nine times. It is good for the officer on working. To remember every detail is waste time and energy when the police carry out a task. The most important thing for them is saving and protect people. The video can record the action they do on working. The new technology can help the citizen do the job faster and better. Instead of focusing on the disciplinary process, the citizens and police officers can focus on their job better. As the technology advancing, there are more and more new technology to help us, makes our lives better. When the police offer review the camera and video, he also can feel comfortable and the sense of justice. It will help them release the sense of guilty if he shot the criminal.

  13. dns

    The cloud technology of this camera will be beneficial to both citizens and the police force. Although verbal evidence of the situation is useful, having physical video footage to ensure the events did occur will be most helpful in questionable debates. In the moment of an intense situation, people tend to make quick decisions because time is a factor, the judgment of the decisions made are always up for debate afterwards. The police officer is most concerned about getting out and ending a dangerous situation as quickly as possible with as little force and harm on the other party. Having video evidence will help clarify disputes and ensure that the intentions of both parties were ethical. This will make sure that police officers are not taking advantage of their authority to abuse civilians and go beyond their power to input their own tactics. Police unions should endorse this technology because it will resolve disputes about the grey area of how far the police officer used his authority and how much the other party was cooperating or not to result to someone being shot. The only concern I have about investing in this technology for police unions is the amount of money and funding being put into this new technology.

  14. aaron

    I think that this kind of technology put into the right hands can make a difference. I too have seen video’s on youtube that are strait out of police cars. If people can find a way to get those on the internet, what is stopping them from getting all other recordings in the future. I think that like it is now a few videos will be put out to the public is some way or another, but the greater good would be in this case police officers and victims of police brutality. On the other hand sometimes camera angels and lighting can misrepresent the events, and not to mention photo shop if someone is really desperate. But I do believe that they should use these cameras, provided that the situation calls for it. It should not get to the point that the cameras are on all the time because that just invades privacy. Or maybe if they had it so once the material is a few hours old it is erased, and only if it is not important. It is also funny how the company that made Taser guns, which were criticized for its brutality in the media, is also providing these cameras.

  15. Josh

    I feel anything that can provide definite facts is a plus when dealing with the law. Having video evidence not only protects the police officer but it protects the civilian as well. It eliminates the need for a “he said she said” battle in the court rooms and can also provide extensive benefits in the further education of future police recruits. And yes like anything else in this world negatives can arise, and abuse of power can exist but for the most part this new camera technology can improve the situation between the police and the party being dealt with.

    Claims of police brutality are always going to exist and unfortunately there will always be legitimate cases of police officers abusing their power, the camera technology mitigates this dichotomy and gives an independent clear view of what actually takes place.

    The one feature i do feel should be addressed is the editing feature of the camera system, this is what I feel would be left susceptible to wrongful use. Also the camera should run consistent anytime the police officer called to the scene and turns on automatically. This way the issues of “forgetting to turn on the camera” isn’t able to played in court in the event their is a dispute between the parties.

  16. Tyler

    I think that the use of cloud technology can be a big benefit for both the police and for citizens. By having incidents on video the officers are protected from inaccurate complaints and they have hard evidence in case something bad such as a shooting that was talked about in the article occurs while on the other hand if incidents are being filmed it makes the officers mind their behaviour and be sure to not go overboard. And in an incident where things do get out of hand the victims have evidence to back up their claims so it’s not a case of his claim vs his claim where on one hand you have someone who might not look that responsible in front of a jury against the word of a police officer and potentially his partner backing them up. By having that video it takes things out of the bias of a jury and into clear cut evidence.
    I feel that police unions would support this technology. By having clear evidence about what happened police officers are able to back up their claims which makes it much easier to defend themselves against bogus claims which can tie up resources and force police officers off the job while investigations are pending. With the video they can close the cases quickly and get officers back to work.

  17. John McAllister

    This article is one that I am not fully supportive or against the product. I simply do not have enough information about police encounters and my personal experience is less than limited. Being a Canadian citizen, I have always gotten along well with our local police force as well as the Mounties the few times I have come in contact with them. In this situation it would likely benefit the police and the public equally, providing solid evidence while holding people and officers responsible. Where I could see these iCloud video cameras being more useful is in crime ridden areas in large cities in the United States. With a population of roughly 330 million there is bound to be people willing to put themselves at risk while at the same time officers looking to abuse their powers.
    I do believe that police unions should support the technology because any honest member of the union would want to have evidence to provide in times of doubt. Where I feel the union may become sceptical of the camera is the costs. If the purchase of this technology results in less money for salaries, benefits, or pensions, it is highly unlikely that there will be a union to support it.

  18. Morgan

    It’s difficult to say who would benefit more, the officer or the citizen, because each situation is unique. Sgt. Davis benefitted from the technology because it showed that he gave Berry plenty of chances to put down his gun, but Berry instead moved to fire at Davis. The video shows that Davis was not at fault. If an officer was accused of violent behaviour, racism, theft, etc., the camera would record the incident and prove either the officer or the citizen innocent. The article mentioned that people become better citizens when they know a camera is watching them, and that goes for the police as well. If they know they’re being recorded, they may be less likely to act like such jerks to people who do not deserve it.

    However, there is the issue of editing video to make the situation more in favour of the officer. Additionally, the officer can choose when to turn the camera on or off, which distorts the context of the situation. If something happens where it’s the officer’s word against the citizen, the video could easily be edited to support the officer’s story.

    I think this technology would be much more useful if it was running during the officer’s entire shift and not just whenever the officer decides to turn it on. Additionally, although I understand that the video should be able to be edited to protect identities, there needs to be a notification that shows exactly when and how it was edited and the original video should be available to compare the differences. Those features should help to ensure officers will not be able to abuse the technology.

  19. Debbie Kennedy

    I think both the officers and citizen would benefit from this technology. For the officers, if they had to use force this would give their justification on video and for the citizen if unjustified force was used then this too would be on video, not to mention more civilized actions from both parties. The only thing thats lacking in this, is the ability for the camera to tape the entire shift of the police officer. I think this would help in the investigation of events leading up to a particular situation. Lets face it, police have been charged for brutality and even unjustified murder all across Canada and the US. This should be mandatory for all police officers to have the video camera on at all times. I come from Sask. where police were charged with taking citizens out of the city to beat and leave them to their deaths in freezing temperature. I have heard stories of police officers putting the heads of citizens under the river water in hopes they will drown the citizen. I have heard of police officers taking advantage of minors by molesting them. I know it happens and if the officer had it mandatory to have wear a camera and have it on at all times, they wouldn’t commit crimes they are suppose to be stopping from happening.

    Police enforcement right across Canada should support and endorse this technology to prevent them from taking advantage of their position by thinking they commit crimes and not get caught and to assist them in investigations where they had to use force to subdue someone or calm a situation down.

    I lived in Saskatoon where many of the police officers were beating and killing aboriginal people. I don’t trust the justice system, I especially distrust police officers, can you blame me?! I can tell you horror stories of freinds who experienced such force from people who are suppose to protect and serve.

  20. Megan H

    The United States has become a society of the quick and easy buck; it seems citizens will sue over virtually anything they believe they can make money. The introduction of a camera attached to an officers glasses or collar of their shirt would be another step to easily disprove stories of police brutality and excessive use of force by police officers. At the same time it would also do the opposite in the event of police using excessive force, as with the Rodney King beating and various other attacks by police have been proven by citizens using handheld cameras. We live in the age of technology where many people have a camera on their phone easily allowing them to record any event at any time. While I do not agree with the use of Tasers, as there is extreme amounts of controversy surrounding them, the use of a Point-of-View cameras gives a firsthand account of what actually happened, also showing people exactly what the officer saw and experienced at the time of the incident or confrontation. It would definitively show the aggressor and the non-lethal actions taken to prevent the incident from escalating, making the prosecutors as well as the police higher ups job of determining course of action easier.

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