Police departments across the country are increasingly relying on tiny, body-worn cameras to remove the "he said-she said" that can occur when officers have encounters with citizens.
Just this week, a federal judge ordered officers in five New York City boroughs to don the devices as part of an overhaul of the city's controversial stop-and-frisk policy. She declared police had violated the civil rights of thousands of mostly minority men who were stopped and questioned, sometimes even searched, for no reason.
Many other departments have willingly adopted the cameras, and some say they have dramatically reduced the number of complaints against officers.
"Video can exonerate (an) officer quickly," Steve Lovell , president of camera manufacturer VIEVU, told the New York Daily News. "We've also had officers terminated because of our cameras."
The York City Police Department wants to equip its two school resource officers with such cameras -- but that depends on whether the school board agrees to allow the devices inside the city district's hallways.
It makes sense to us -- as long as a sensible policy is established to protect the privacy of the majority of students who mind their own business.
Superintendent Eric Holmes said the board is considering such a policy.
He said the cameras won't record audio and won't be turned on unless an officer is responding
Anyone not involved in a particular incident who happens to be caught on camera will have his or her image blurred, according to the proposed policy.
Hopefully the board considers other privacy aspects, such as who has access to the videos from the moment an officer hits "record" until the recording is discarded.
And how long will the images be kept? A month? A year? Indefinitely?
Also, we wonder if it's wise not to allow audio to be recorded. Much of "he said-she said" incidents depend on, well, what was said. Plus, how would anyone know if officers actually announced they were recording, as Holmes says they'll be required to do.
Details, yes, but details that should be considered before the cameras are allowed in our schools.
Overall, though, it seems like the York City School District could see the same benefits cities across the country are reporting.
Not only will videos protect both students and officers from unfounded allegations, both parties hopefully will be on their best behavior during incidents.
Just knowing officers have the capability of recording -- and that such videos could be used against suspects in court or for school disciplinary measures -- might even prevent problems from occurring in the first place.