Reasonable searches in the era of the police body camera / by kevin murray

Although it is true that not every police officer has a body camera, more and more police officers do, of which, having a body camera works for the protection and integrity of all parties involved in regards to interactions with those police officers.  Because police officers have a lot of authority to stop and frisk individuals in public places, as well as to stop individuals while driving on public roads, or to investigate people, even at their place of residency; it is of great concern  that police officers when it comes to probable cause, or a reasonable suspicion, or exigent circumstances, that those same officers should first be required by law to indicate why they are about to do what they are about to do as disclosed to that body camera, as opposed to fulfilling such requirements, after the fact.


That is to say, body cameras, allow police officers to demonstrate and to record in action their specific intent, when pulling somebody over for a traffic violation, for instance, or when stopping a citizen in the public streets for a search, or when requesting entry into a given residence of a citizen, and so on and so forth.    So that, with a body camera, it is quite clear to begin with, for what reason or reasons, the given citizen has been pulled over, or stopped, or questioned, and that subject to that specific reason or reasons, the police officer should, per the 4th Amendment of our Constitution, be limited to searching or conducting questions that only are relevant to the pertinent issue(s) at hand, and therefore, nothing beyond such.  So that, the effect, is that with a body camera, police officers would no longer be able to conduct their own "fishing expeditions" when it comes to suspects, and thereupon no longer be able to fill our police reports in such a manner that the alleged original suspicions of the officer, just happens to coordinate well with the evidence so acquired.


Further to the point, since all of these interactions between police officers and suspects is done upon probable cause or the suspicion of specific criminal activity, with the possible exception of truly exigent circumstances, a report card of each police officer shall be duly recorded, in which a reasonable score for a given police officer working from their experience as an officer of the law, of being in good conformance with the meaning of probable cause, would be a hit rate at a minimum of seventy-five percent of the time.  In other words, a given police officer, suspecting criminal activity, would first air their suspicions to the body camera, and so when in aggregate they are correct seventy-five percent of the time or greater in their specific criminal suspicions, this would be considered to be performing their job in a correct and competent manner.  All those, on the other hand, scoring at less than seventy-five percent, would be considered to be conducting their searches in an arbitrary and unfair manner, of which, those given percentages would be absolutely relevant for all alleged suspects that are arrested from such and therefore subject to thereupon having that evidence suppressed or invalidated, by a court of law.


After all, most police officers are quite fond of stating that they are well experienced in recognizing the aura of criminal activity and therefore knowing probable cause; now, however, the truth of such will be borne out by the correlation of police suspicions as recorded by their body cameras matched up against those probable causes, thoroughly reviewed.