Have body cams really changed the way police operate?

I don’t often discover new TV shows simply by scrolling and noticing the title and thinking that they sound interesting. One that recently caught my eye, however, is called Body Cam.

Body cams have been introduced into policing to hold law enforcement officers accountable for their actions as we’ve seen how violent and discriminatory their actions can be. At the same time, the cams have been used to keep officers safe because, as we know, society is becoming more and more violent and, well, stupid.

The TV show recounts stories from the officers’ point of view — literally. It’s all captured at chest level from their respective body cams.

It’s sometimes hard to tell how we’re supposed to feel about what we see on these shows. On one hand we see the idiocy that police deal with on a daily basis. Perhaps it should give us an appreciation for their public service. On the other hand, it pulls back the curtain to show how aggressive and violent the officers’ tactics are.

Body cam footage is often secondary to what bystanders capture on their phones and post on social media. With this show, we hear the interactions officers have not only with those they’re pursuing but with each other. It’s eye opening and not always in a good way.

The number of F-bombs used is disturbing. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t clutching my pearls and offended by such language. It was more concerning to witness the aggressive and rage-filled commands when the interactions with perpetrators wasn’t violent.

“Get on the F’ing ground. Hands behind your F’ing back,” is usually screamed, followed by other variations of the F-word. It’s not that the person was being defiant, it’s simply that the officers were reacting in the moment.

Therein lies the issue people have with law enforcement. Nobody likes being told what to do so when it’s done in such a forceful manner it makes people react differently.

I’ve never had a negative interaction with cops. In fact, they comforted me when people tried breaking into my house while I was home a few years ago. I was shaken and the officers were compassionate in the moment and in the days following, reaching out and offering safety tips for my house.

Having said that, I’ve never been entangled in illegal behaviour so I can’t speak to how they’ve treated me when I was on the run because it’s never happened.

As for the TV show, I watched a few episodes on a recent flight. There were three instances when the suspect led officers on a foot chase and then hopped into an unlocked and running police car and stole it, leading to a high-speed pursuit.

Going back to that point about not knowing who to root for on this show (why would we cheer on a criminal?), there is a sweetness when we see these overly aggressive men and women in uniform get outsmarted by soon-to-be jailbirds.

It reminds me of my commentaries in recent weeks about our relationship with politicians. It’s one side against the other and nothing will improve because each side holds such hostility toward the other.

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