Take a look at this thing. First of all, it's HUGE, like wearing a walkie talkie from WWII. Plus it's made by Taser, which makes, you know, tasers. Accordingly, it's marketed like a weapon. The video doesn't really communicate that this is about protecting the public. It's about fear. And Terminator ripoff graphics.


While I get that you might want the camera to be ultravisible so criminals can see it, that thing looks incredibly awkward and unnecessarily intimidating. You can get a totally decent action camera for $300 (we tested six of them earlier this year) that's far smaller and could be easily adapted to be worn in the same way as the Taser one on the shoulder or eyeglass frames. In fact, the glasses-mounted model works very well for police, which is why some departments have been discussing providing Google Glass for their officers. Better yet, how about we see Google working with police to have them help test future prototypes for free?

One point raised by critics is that even when police cameras are rolling, there's no guarantee that anyone will ever be able to see the footage they capture. According to San Diego reporter Sara Libby, who writes about her local police department over at CityLab, officers were wearing cameras during two controversial shootings earlier this year, yet the department has claimed that the video is not admissible as official public records. Libby's request for the footage was denied. Just because cops will have vest cams doesn't mean we'll ever see the footage.


And that's just one concern among many. When should the camera be on? The entire time an officer is on-duty? Only during an arrest? Isn't being recorded by cops a violation of our privacy? Those answers we'll find through the course of doing. What we shouldn't do is wait, when there could be lives at stake.

If we want to exercise our freedom to record our interactions with cops, there can't be a double standard. As more civilians are empowered to record police activity, this gives police the opportunity to provide their own documentation. And this should be as affordable, and accessible as a cheap cellphone.


When virtually every American is carrying a device they can use to capture the every move of law enforcement and upload it immediately to Twitter, this small piece of technology will allow cities to tell both sides of the story on our streets. Money shouldn't be a barrier to the public good, and in this case it doesn't have to be. Let's help our police do it in a way that's as easy as possible. Ferguson is as good a place as any to start.

AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes