David Kravets writes that US Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) says police departments nationwide should require their officers to wear body cameras in order to qualify for the hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding they receive each year. "Everywhere I go, people now have cameras," said McCaskill during a question-and-answer session with voters in her home state of Missouri. "And police officers are now at a disadvantage because someone can tape the last part of an encounter and not tape the first part of the encounter. And it gives the impression that the police officer has overreacted when they haven't."
Only a small number of US police departments have outfitted their officers with body cameras, including forces in Fresno, California; Oakland; Rialto, California; Pittsburgh; Salt Lake City; and Cincinnati. A recent study with the Rialto Police Department showed that use-of-force incidents and citizen complaints have been dramatically curtailed since the department began wearing body cams [PDF].