Body-worn cameras - the kind being used by 70% of police departments in the U.S. – are being used in Criminal Justice classes at Farmingdale State College - a "first" among institutions of higher learning.
Other than forensic DNA analysis, law enforcement agencies say that applied classroom learning with body cams is the most sought-after tool in contemporary police and prosecutorial training.
Scenarios such as assaults, robberies, disturbing the peace, and other lawbreaking activities are staged in the classroom, with a "police officer" on the scene wearing a camera. Footage is taken of the incident, and then students analyze what they see on the footage versus what they saw "live."
Bringing cameras into the classroom is the brainchild of Assistant Professor Brian Kelly, a former law enforcement officer himself, who is currently doing research with two police departments on the perception of these cameras.
"It's a hot topic in society and within police work itself, and no other college in the nation possesses or utilizes this equipment on a regular basis within their course curriculum."
The cameras were purchased from L-3 Mobile-Vision, an industry leader in the development and distribution of these units. The cameras have at least one microphone and internal data storage.