Who Gets to Watch Video When?

Issues swirling around video policy aren't going away, which is why we need your input

By Jim Glennon  |   Apr 7, 2015


For 35 years now Calibre Press has believed that the most effective training begins with the dealing of reality. The Street Survival Seminars and other Calibre Press classes constantly use video as a way to engage the audience and incite discussion and assessment. On occasion people have balked at its use: It’s too graphic, sensationalized or gratuitous, they claim.

But our belief is that video, properly used in training, is one of the most effective tools when it comes to improving officer safety. When dash cameras were introduced into cruisers in the 1990s, we were able to view actual incidents without filters. But there were limitations too. The cameras only showed what happened in front of squad cars.

Now with the introduction of bodycams in this age of ubiquitous video, questions, concerns, policies, perspectives and, yes, even significant limitations need to be considered as they are being implemented around the country.

It’s my belief that cops need to drive this conversation. After all, it’s we who will suffer the consequences if we don’t step up. And others are already doing so–in droves. Some of them make very good points that we should consider. But nobody knows our reality like we do.

The view of a bodycam is not the “whole truth” and they will not be the panacea when it comes to revealing the entire story of an incident. While they do give a perspective, it’s critically important to understand that it isn’t the same perspective as that of the person wearing it.  In fact, the footage may actually skew reality and create false impressions.

All of that as preface, our question to you is rather simple: Should officers, recognizing the limits of video, be able to review bodycam footage before preparing reports or providing statements?

Take the time to tell us what you think. We can’t afford to be silent on these pivotal issues.

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Jim Glennon
Lt. Jim Glennon (ret.) is the owner and lead instructor for Calibre Press. He is a third-generation LEO, retired from the Lombard, Ill. PD after 29 years of service. Rising to the rank of lieutenant, he commanded both patrol and the Investigations Unit. In 1998, he was selected as the first Commander of Investigations for the newly formed DuPage County Major Crimes (Homicide) Task Force. He has a BA in Psychology, a Masters in Law Enforcement Justice Administration, is the author of the book Arresting Communication: Essential Interaction Skills for Law Enforcement.