Should police officers wear body cameras?

RIALTO, Calif. (KABC) -- With all the tension between police and the public, many police departments are trying to figure out ways to increase transparency.

One popular solution? Body-mounted cameras.

The Rialto Police Department has been using body cameras for several years.

In one example, video from the body camera shows a police officer trying to make contact with a possibly mentally ill man. A few seconds later, the man lunges at the officer with one hand in his pocket.

A violent struggle ensues. With the help of a Good Samaritan, the officer takes the man into custody in less than a minute.

The person in the video did not file a complaint against the officer. Police Chief Tony Farrar says not having a recording of the incident may have changed that decision.

"It could have easily been different where somebody could have driven by and said mistakenly that the officer threw the first punch or assaulted the other person," Farrar said.

But would having body cameras have changed public opinion on the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner?

"It's hard to speculate, and I don't want to do that, but certainly if the officers who were involved in some of the instances that have been taking place as of late would have been equipped with this technology, if nothing else, it would have cleared up some gray areas," Farrar said.

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