Who are They Really Surveilling?

I recently read some news that made me think a little more critically about authority. On the Highlands Today newspaper website they said that as of this week the officers of Lake Placid Florida would began to wear camera’s attached to their uniforms to video record their interactions with civilians on duty. This means that their patrolling, arrest, and other things that they do on their daily rounds will be recorded and under review! This initially made me happy. It made me think of the countless amounts of times where police violence was used specifically on Black people. And then how those cops got a slap on the wrist and/ or got off in court because of “not enough evidence” or some other excuse that was used to hide the system’s main purpose of solidifying the white supremacist mindset it was founded on. But then I thought about it a little harder and this camera, though it seems really positive and theoretically would cut the amount of police brutality down, could also have very bad effects on communities highly concentrated with people of color. One of the ways it could be harmful is that it would not necessarily cut down the amount of police surveillance before the brutality but it would probably do is change who they are surveilling and how much they monitor them. Meaning that now more police officers will be in neighborhoods with people of color taping what they are doing, looking for illegal activities to “bust”. Using those cameras will feed into their confirmation biases and though it might cut down police violence, it might be a new factoring increasing mass incarceration. So I wonder, with the introduction of these cameras to the Lake Placid police officer’s uniform, who are they really surveilling?

4 thoughts on “Who are They Really Surveilling?

  1. I think you brought up some really good points. I’ve read an article on this topic and I don’t think it will do any good for civilians. I also think about who is going to be looking at the cameras and how they will go about presenting the evidence in court. And to be honest we know the cameras will only be used as evidence in communities of color to get catch illegal drug busts and any other actions that can be tied to breaking the law. I would like to see how this story continues to develop in Lake Placid.

  2. Tatiana, I definitely understand and agree with the points that you are making; but, I also wonder if these cameras could be used as evidence that police officers are spending more time monitoring African Americans than White people. Since the officers would have the cameras on their uniform at all times, couldn’t the footage be used to investigate what group of people the officer has been focusing on? I definitely agree that this could lead to more mass incarceration of Black people, and that it could be used to “bust” more Black people on the streets. But, if someone took the initiative to look into the footage, maybe these cameras could stop police officers from targeting Black people in the future.

  3. You raise a really interesting point that I would have never thought about myself. In theory, this does sound like it is a great idea but it will be very difficult to tell who they are actually watching, like you said. I agree with you completely that this could end up just causing an even greater increase of mass incarceration. As lauren stated in her comment, I also am curious to see how this would affect major cities. It will be very interesting to see what this ends up doing in Lake Placid Florida.

  4. This is a really interesting post and I think it shows colorblind ideology. The police force is able to say that they are placing the cameras to watch the police officers and keep track of their encounters, when really, like you said, they could be looking into what civilians are doing, especially African Americans. I wonder what would happen if this was employed in a major city like New York or Philadelphia. I wonder if their would be more backlash from the community and people would realize the potential racism behind these cameras.

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