Body cameras for all Phoenix police officers might be on their way. Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and Councilwoman Thelda Williams have asked for all patrol officers to wear body cameras in the next three years.
However, this request comes with an expensive price tag. Last year, Phoenix Police Chief Joe Yahner said equipping police officers with body cameras would cost more than $3.5 million.
Despite the high price, Stanton and Williams are asking for the proposal to move forward due to the camera’s success in the Maryvale precinct.
In a memo to City Manager Ed Zuercher, Williams and Stanton said:
“In the areas where cameras were used, Phoenix saw significant drops in complaints against officers, more effective processing of cases in court and improved evidence in the prosecution of domestic-violence cases.”
If the proposal passes, behavior among police officers might improve. With the potential to make police officers more trustworthy and transparent, body cameras seem ideal. The body cameras seem a natural fit in the courtroom as well. In court, it’s usually the police officer’s word versus the defendant’s testimony. With body cameras on every officer, cases could change for defendants in the Valley. By using video evidence, cases will become clearer since video footage will be available for review.
Putting body cameras on all police officers could move Phoenix toward a new generation of policing by building trust between the officers and the communities they serve.