The camera in that squad car that pulled you over the other night for suspicion of OWI may not have recorded the right date on your field sobriety test. As a matter of fact, it may have recorded nothing at all according to this article from The Detroit News.
photo credit: karpov the wrecked train
Cameras in police vehicles are there to protect citizens and more likely to provide protection to the city from unreasonable lawsuits. Seventy two of the nation’s police departments utilize cameras and Detroit should be one of them.
The cameras in DPD’s vehicles were installed in 2001 with the best of intentions but now offer little protection to anyone. The cameras work properly less than 17% of the time.
The initial cost for the cameras in 2001 was less than $1 million. The city hoped to save money by doing the installation themselves. Since 2001 and that home grown installation, however, over $18 million has been spent on the camera system.
As the Detroit News report reveals, only 37 of 212 squad cars were able to download video in an evaluation this past April. Of those, many had poor lighting or incorrect dating, making them less likely to be useful in a criminal or civil hearing.
When we are pulled over by police we would like to be able to know the cameras are recording every action so that when we go before a judge, what really happened is clearer. However, without working cameras, we are in a he said she said situation with the police versus the defendant.
If you are facing criminal charges and wonder if the police that arrested you were able to record the arrest, I can help you find out. We can look at the quality of the video and if it’s beneficial we can fight to have it suppressed in your case.
Not all police equipment is reliable. From breathalyzer tests to police cameras, every piece of high tech equipment has its faults.