Classroom guide: Privacy, public trust, and the body camera debate
In this podcast episode, hosts Mike Dunbar and Anna Brown discuss police body cameras and a bill to require them in New Hampshire. What is the impact of body cameras on police conduct? Do cameras violate privacy? Are financial incentives enough, or does New Hampshire need a law to require body cameras?
Podcast includes 7 minutes about the body camera debate in New Hampshire, 2 additional minutes about the first nationally televised trial in the U.S., the trial of Pamela Smart in New Hampshire.
- The importance of trust (and mistrust) in law enforcement in a democracy
- SS:CV:8:1.1: Explain why limiting the powers of government is essential for the protection of individual rights. (Themes: B: Civic Ideals, Practices, and Engagement, E: Cultural Development, Interaction, and Change, H: Individualism, Equality and Authority)
- SS:CV:12:1.4: Explain how in the United States legitimate authority derives from custom, law and consent of the governed, e.g., the Mayflower Compact or local curfews. (Themes: B: Civic Ideals, Practices, and Engagement, E: Cultural Development, Interaction, and Change, H: Individualism, Equality and Authority)
- The impact of technology on our justice system
- SS:CV:8:3.2: Analyze environmental, economic, and technological developments and their impact on society. (Themes: C: People, Places and Environment, D: Material Wants and Needs, G: Science, Technology, and Society)
- SS:HI:12:4.3: Explain how the development of technology has both simplified and complicated work, e.g., the development of interchangeable parts or the “paperless” office. (Themes: G: Science, Technology, and Society)
- How do police body cameras work? Why would people want police officers to wear body cameras?
- What is New Hampshire’s current policy with regards to police body cameras. What are the pros and cons of the current law?
- How could police body cameras inspire greater trust in the police?
- What are some potential unintended consequences of requiring police to wear body cameras?
- In what instances should police body camera footage be available to the public? Consider individual suspects’ rights to privacy versus the community’s desire for greater transparency in policing.
- Do you think NH police should be required to wear body cameras? Why or why not?