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It seems to be an all too common trend these days – interactions between citizens and police that end in violence or bloodshed. On one hand you have citizens who take an oath to serve and protect others, and on the other hand you have the average citizen who may have “good” or “bad” intentions. It seems there is a great divide taking place right now, where citizens have a growing dislike for law enforcement, while law enforcement is feeling more and more disconnected from the people they are meant to protect and serve. But why? What’s causing this?

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There are a number of ways to look at the problem, anything from cultural habits which are growing, spreading, and causing the divide, to the consistent exposure of interactions between cops and citizens that “don’t end well.” Maybe there is reason for the people to be wary of police these days, or maybe we truly need to start mending the relationship and figuring out how we can recognize that beyond the uniform, we are all just human. This is why I think it’s important to film police as much as possible.

It’s for your own protection, but it can also be for theirs.

The challenge with having cops film themselves all the time comes down to who has control of the footage. While something could go down between a citizen and an officer, who’s to say the footage is dealt with in a proper manner to help solve a case of potential brutality? We of course know it can be used effectively to help dispel any false allegations made towards the officer, but as the citizen, is the footage from dashcams and bodycams on officers always treated with honesty in cases of wrong doings by police?

This is why it’s incredibly important to take your own footage as much as you can. Citizen recorded events have helped raise a lot of awareness about police brutality and have also helped in solving a number of cases related to the issue. While it may also widen the divide between cops and citizens by increasing anger on both sides, it’s playing an important role for now.

Know your rights. When a cop asks you to stop filming them, don’t. You have the right to film any officer while you are being questioned or while someone else is. In the meantime, let’s work to mend relationships between cops and citizens. Yes, “wrong actions” have taken place on both sides of the coin but continuing down that path can lead to a nasty end. It’s important we make that human connection once again and work to dissolve the separation that exists between us.

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What are your thoughts on the issue?

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