The governor of NJ just this week signed a bill that is going to require police to wear body cameras and they are joining several other states that have already made this move. They claim that the move is for transparency and accountability, but if officers have the ability to turn off their cameras at their own will that leaves the entire concept of transparency and accountability up for debate. There have been situations where that footage wasn't available in some instances, despite officers being required to wear it.
Around the U.S. there have been several cases where police officers have shot and killed various individuals and they didn't turn on those body cameras at the time. If the cameras are going to fail then they aren't going to do any help toward promoting further transparency with the enforcers and the public.
Aside from issues with the cameras being turned on, there are also other concerns over the footage itself. What might be recorded or where it might be stored. Public defenders have previously suggested that officers seem to turn the cameras on or off whenever they want and this hardly makes them an effective or transparent investigative tool.
Signing a bill like this might make the public feel better that lawmakers are trying to secure some sort of higher standard of transparency and accountability, but there are still major concerns and flaws with the body camera approach. The cameras aren't going to be the beacon of transparency that many might have hoped they would be, but they have helped to record valuable footage over the last several years that has been used to showcase officer wrongdoing and help educate the public about what their tax dollars are paying for.
Despite other regions failing to pass similar legislation on a broad scale, there are still thousands of officers around the country that you can already find who are wearing these police body cameras. Back in 2016 it was estimated that about 45 percent of law enforcement agencies were already using them to some extent.