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Why Don't All Police Cars Have Video?

Having practiced law for over 20 years, it is clear that the use of video cameras has increased dramatically over this period of time.  Many larger cities utilize both dash cameras as well as uniform cameras for a number of reasons. Officer safety, prevention of false allegations, and proof of what actually occurred are the most often cited.  In a DUI stop/arrest, it can show the judge or jury exactly what the officer saw and the behavior of the defendant.  It shows if the speech was slurred and how the defendant actually performed on the field sobriety tests. This all begs the question: Why does Boone County not have any video cameras on the majority of their vehicles or on the officers? More specifically disturbing, the Boone County Sheriffs that are the "DUI Specialists" have no video. I'm sure that cost will be the primary answer.  There is a cost to purchase and install the cameras as well as maintenance of the videos which are produced.  This simply, is insufficient.  In this year 2015, there are many private vehicles that have installed dash cameras - you see the videos every day on the news and on YouTube.  Nearly every person driving a vehicle has a handheld video camera in their cellular phone at the time they are stopped.  Yet, the police have none. My perceived answer is much more cynical, cops lie and don't want to be held accountable.  DUI is no longer the police trying to remove the drunk drivers who are a danger.  It is now a dollars and cents where the goal is to make arrests and convictions.  In short, convictions without video are less common that those with video. When there is no video, the officer's testimony goes uncontroverted.  Even if the defendant chooses to testify, his testimony is automatically less reliable than the officer.  The officer testifies that he is drunk, thereby diminishing his reliability.  Second, the defendant has a stake in the outcome and presumably, the officer does not.   But the officer does.  Maybe not directly with each case, but overall the number of arrests and convictions bring more money into the department.  Many departments and officers do not like when they are confronted with reality.  The officer tends to overstate his case, thereby justifying the arrest.  Videos prove this!  Officers with video tend to be more reliable and honest with the facts, knowing that proof exists. I have lived in Boone County for the past 18 years and love my community and have generally supported the sheriff's office and his force.  That said, time has come.  I am challenging the Boone County Sheriff's office to install video.  If not in all cruisers, at least in those that are deemed the DUI experts.  Utilize them in DUI arrests.  Show the world that we are not simply a good old boy county where the police rule without checks and balances.  Possibly the police force will also improve and you will prevent false accusations. Michael Bouldin has been defending those charged with crimes and DUI for over 20 years in Boone County and resides in Boone County.  For legal representation and consultation, call Bouldin Law Firm at 581-6453 or email at [email protected]  

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