Exercise Includes Evidence from Police Body Cameras
RALEIGH, N.C. (September 25, 2015) - Are police body cameras effective? Do they produce useable evidence? Students in the Criminal Justice program at Wake Tech Community College considered these controversial questions today at the Public Safety Education Campus. In a mock trial exercise based on a real-life scenario, students examined evidence and scrutinized the actions of an officer who had responded to a domestic dispute that later turned deadly.
Students played the roles of attorneys, witnesses, and jurors – and were encouraged to prepare for the mock trial by consulting legal professionals. Law enforcement personnel assisted with the body camera for the staging of the scene.
“Students are required to prepare and present both sides of a hypothetical legal problem,” said Janie Slaughter, Criminal Justice Department Head. “This exercise helps them develop important critical thinking skills and enhances classroom instruction.”
The U.S. Justice Department last week announced $19 million in grants to expand the use of body cameras in police agencies across the country. Locally, the Knightdale police department has purchased body cameras for its officers, and several other agencies are considering the same. The General Assembly has been considering state funding for body cameras and whether their images should be confidential, as well as studying best practices, training, and costs. Nearly 500 students are enrolled in Wake Tech’s associate’s degree program in Criminal Justice.