In Georgia, there is no legal requirement that the police video an arrest. You would think in 2016 that having a video would be axiomatic with more cell phone cameras in the United States than people. However, like with all government agencies, the police are slow to adopt new technology.
In Georgia all Georgia State Patrol cars have video. As for county and city police departments, it is up to the leadership of those agencies and county commissions who fund them. Most of the Metro-Atlanta Police Departments have cameras. Some even have body cameras, such as in Athens-Clarke County.
Why should the police want cameras?
Having police video in every arrest is not just to protect the rights of the accused. Of course, as a Atlanta DUI Lawyer, I want the rights of my clients protected. However, cameras protect the police as well.
Many people make false allegations against police officers. Having video cameras in every police car, along with body cameras, protects a police officer from false allegations of police misconduct and police abuse.
A proposal to furnish and pay for state-wide video equipment for all Georgia Police Officers:
The first thing that needs to happen is to make sure all police officers have cameras. The easiest way is to add a five-dollar surcharge to all traffic tickets and then earmark the money towards the purchase and maintenance of the cameras.
Along with the enabling legislation for the surcharge needs to be an amendment to our open records law requiring that all videos are uploaded to a server that anyone can access. Many police departments will not provide attorneys and the press access to a video without a court order. The Georgia Open Recorders Act needs to be amended to provide free and open access to all police videos within 72 hours of a police encounter.
My position is that openness in governments assures the best government. The police deserve this proposal and so do those accused of a crime. For more Georgia DUI Information, check back daily.