p.p1 the police on a daily basis. The strengths

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0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px ‘Times New Roman’; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000}span.s1 {font-kerning: none}span.Apple-tab-span {white-space:pre}The Benevolent Social Planner should have the interests of every person in society in mind, and should weigh the utility of each person equally when trying to ensure that overall there are more happy people in society than unhappy (Owens 1/9).

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When deciding if the Irvine Police should purchase and require its officers to wear body cameras, if they have the goal of a truly benevolent police force, they must first consider what the positive and negative outcomes of this action would have on each individual and on society as a whole. The benefits that they should consider are whether purchasing body cams will make citizens feel safer, if they will have higher trust in the police, and if they will perceive them as a legitimate and fair, while not abusing their coercive power. The costs that they must consider is both the literal monetary cost to the police budget and taxpayers who would pay for the body cams indirectly, as well as the costs to the officers’ own freedom and discretion in citizen encounters.  President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing outlines how “trust between law enforcement agencies and the people they protect and serve is essential in a democracy” (pg. 5), which supports the goal of what is considered to be a benevolent police force who should care about the wellbeing of each person involved in a social function.

In order to decide if the cameras would improve the utility, or happiness, of society, the effects of the implementation of body cams were quantified in the Washington D.C. study by two factors: the use of force in police encounters, and the amount of citizen complaints about police. The study concluded that, on average, the addition of cameras made little to no significant change.

Through cost-benefit analysis, the monetary costs of body cameras can be balanced out by the utility gained from having legitimacy through video evidence, which would prevent the need for further investigation into incidents where previously resources would have to be used for a deeper look into the truth. This saves time, creates efficiency, and credibility that can be invaluable. “There are other potential benefits from the program…such as how the video footage is used in the courts, how it’s used to train officers, and the public perception oftrust” (pg. 4). By providing a means of prevention and detection of corruption or brutality, the community can have more peace of mind, especially in an area such as Irvine, which is very dense in police officers and citizens seem to have some type of interaction with the police on a daily basis.  The strengths of this analysis lie in its comprehensive, long term study of over 2,000 officers. This has been a very important subject in regards to recent outcries in the media about police brutality, and the hopes that having video monitoring would decrease brutality.

This study allowed for an inside look into how this would affect things in D.C., which could be used in other areas such as Irvine.

Over the period of a couple years, the researchers gathered enough qualitative data from both citizens and camera footage to give a comparison to previous years, and found that overall the statistics were almost equivalent. But, this null affect of body cams does not necessarily mean that the data collected is not useful for reform. Another strength of the results from the study were that, even though the cameras did not have a direct result on the actions of officers, the researchers were able to pick up on patterns in behavior that had otherwise not been expected. The study reports how it is usual for officers to react the same in stressful situations, but the camera footage uncovered how in routine daily citizen encounters, they would “see people acting differently — more professionally, more formally” when they knew the camera was active (pg. 4).

One weakness is how the police officers who did not have cameras were left to report on their own actions, which could likely have led to a disparity in data on personally reported physical force by the officers who did not have actual video evidence, and could report simply from their own memory and/or motive. In the President’s task force on policing the first section is titled Pillar One: Building Trust and Legitimacy, which implementing body cameras can directly work towards, because of the added personal accountability that video recording can have.  The researchers who conducted the D.C. study said that “the differences were statistically insignificant,” (Hermann pg. 2) so it is unclear whether the cameras have a definitive influence on the behavior of officers.

Despite the insignificance of the specific changes in behavior or citizen complaints, the result also show that overall the biggest benefits come from having legitimate record of interactions or violence. What should mostly influence the Irvine city council when they decide if the cameras will be beneficial are the multitude of factors beyond simply physical force by officers that will be influenced. As stated in the President’s Task Force, “Law enforcement agencies should also establish a culture of transparency and accountability to build public trust and legitimacy” (pg. 1). This is the fundamental benefit as determined by the researchers in the D.C.

study. The body cams can be a preventative step taken simply to ensure documentation of incidents, even if there is no comprehensive evidence at this point of a decrease in use of force by police. At the very least, it will provide evidence of either future misconduct or the absence of any wrongdoing in a contested situation, which will build legitimacy in relations between the community and the officers who serve them. This is explained in the Washing Post article by stating, “Though some police departments were reluctant, most contended the videos would most often exonerate officers facing allegations of misconduct, provide the public with a unique perspective of officers’ work and be an invaluable tool for training” (Hermann pg. 1).

The results of the Washington D.C. study should be used in Irvine’s decision as the beneficial comprehensive study that it is, which shows that the cameras will not have an extreme effect on officers actions. Although, the Irvine city council and police force should be aware that this does not mean that the adoption of cameras will have no affect whatsoever. There are many positives that would increase the general well-being of the community as a whole, which if they are aiming to act as a benevolent social planner, would accurately take into account the utility of each citizen and officer.