The solution is smart weapons. Why put cameras on the police officer when you can just put it on the weapon? The camera would send data via 3g or wifi to be processed on the patrol cruiser, or perhaps on the weapon, that when pointed at someone, can identify the person, if he is carrying a weapon, distance, vital signs, etc. From this data, I think we could make a nearly failsafe determination on whether the gun should or shouldn’t fire when the officer pulls the trigger. Already, facial recognition can scan and identify most wanted individuals, and imaging cameras can identify individuals with elevated heart beats/sweat, which may indicate distress.
For starters, I think the algorithm should check first if the person is holding or has a weapon on them. If the weapon is in hand, then arm lethal rounds, otherwise arm non lethal rounds. Then check if the individual or barrel is facing towards or moving towards the officer; if it is, then allow officer to fire. If processing is quick enough, then identify him/her and run a background check. Setting LED’s on the gun will indicate to the officer whether lethal or non lethal rounds are equipped, armed/allowed to fire status, person is a felon, or even other vital statistics like BAC/drugs, distress level, and perhaps an indicator that factors in location/economic and previous history of the individual to generate a percent quantifying a dangerous encounter. If the connection is lost for any reason, allow the officer to fire. However, this would be extremely unlikely considering the processing would be perhaps on the gun, or offloaded to the police cruiser, or even to the cloud.
In my opinion, this weapon is needed. Officers shouldn’t be burdened with such immense power of having to decide between life and death. With cloud processing allowing us to process huge amounts of data quickly, there is no reason why we couldn’t develop a weapon that could perform these tasks exponentially faster and more accurately than a human could, and definitely within the milliseconds, (an infinity to a computer) that it takes for a person to aim a weapon and fire it.