Cops and Mandatory Use Of Body Cams

Let’s face it, for years cops have been getting away with murder, and I don’t mean literally…They have all too often acted as cop, judge, jury and executioner….This has been especially true against minorities in routine traffic stops that often escalated into totally unneeded violence…

They could rough up, beat up or otherwise trample all over the rights of citizens because it was usually just between them and the alleged suspect…They have been able to do this because until just recently, there was no way to monitor their behavior….And if anybody ever complained, it was their word over the cops, and the vast majority of cases were whitewashed over, covered up and/ or summarily dismissed…

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At last the technology revolution is paying off for the little guy with the increase in the mandatory use of video cams in law enforcement, not only mounted in police cars to videotape routine traffic stops or suspected DUI’s, but also lately in the increasingly required use of cops having to wear chest mounted video cams to fully capture the moments and drama of both routine traffic stops and adrenaline laced confrontations with alleged perpetrators, and there are many of these criminals up to no good….The good cops will welcome this development, because it will provide proof they were just doing their jobs…

It is the “Stone Killer” “Dirty Harry,” “Bad Lieutenant” kind of cops who are used to dispensing street justice according to their own prejudices who fear and hate this growing trend in law enforcement…..With the use of these new mandatory chest or body mounted video cams, every word and nuance of a situation is captured ineradicably on tape, and as they say, cameras don’t lie….

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According to my Google sources, in Rialto, CA- “The Rialto Police Department, over the past year, has been experimenting with equipping body cameras to the 70 officers on its force. The initial results show a promising solution to the excessive use of force by officers.

The police chief in Rialto, California, Tony Farrar, is on record as stating, “ I think we’ve opened some eyes in the law enforcement world. We’ve shown the potential.” This potential he speaks of is due to the scientific data that this experiment has yielded over the course of the last year. (Since) the body cameras were introduced on officers in February 2012, over the next twelve months total complaints filed against them dropped by a staggering 88%, with use of force by officers dropping by 60%!  In addition it also helps protect officers from false accusations of excessive use of force.

Chief Farrar is providing a new paradigm for policing, taking a proactive approach rather than making excuses for his officers and toeing the line. To his credit he has a master’s degree from the Cambridge Institute of Criminology, from which stemmed the idea to utilize cameras. By holding officers more accountable, expensive lawsuits and payouts can be avoided, making it fiscally, as well as socially responsible.

Even the ACLU has come out in support of the move, saying that with proper oversight and accountability, even privacy concerns would be outweighed.

The scientific evidence clearly demonstrates that this program could be an effective and efficient model for nationwide police reform. If you would like to see a similar program implemented in your area, get in touch with your mayor/city council/county board and demand cameras on officers in your local jurisdiction.”

This is the best possible solution to all the sordid stories about police violence and mistreatment of citizens, usually minorities, that has come out in years…..I am sure there will be tremendous resentment and opposition to these new aids to suppress police violence from the “bad cops” who enjoy playing the swaggering, bully role in their daily rounds…Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of bad people out there and we need the police there to protect us from them, but we don’t need police overkill to get this job done properly…

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There is additional support from a recent story on CNN, “Should police officers wear cameras to document their activities while on duty?”The notion has been around for a while. But since August’s fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri — for which witness accounts varied widely — it’s gained traction to become part of the national conversation about police conduct.

The idea is that a video camera mounted on an officer’s vest or uniform would provide an accurate, objective account of every encounter with a civilian. Ideally, the camera would discourage police misconduct while protecting officers against unfounded civil complaints of brutality or corruption. A 2013 report by the Department of Justice found that “both officers and civilians acted in a more positive manner when they were aware that a camera was present.”

Also, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in December that his police department was accelerating efforts to equip all its officers with body cameras as well.”When something happens, to have a video record of it from the police officer’s perspective, it’s going to help in many, many ways,” de Blasio said “It’s going to improve the work of law enforcement. And God forbid, when something goes wrong, we’re going to have a clear understanding of what happened and whatever approaches we need to take as a result.”

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This is clearly an idea whose time has come…The days of the lone wolf cop, frontier justice Sheriff, or Marshal is clearly numbered…The use of mandatory body cameras will not solve every thing, it is not a 100% perfect solution, but it is leap years ahead of what we have now in place….Did you ever see the movie “Training Day” with Denzell Washington as a grizzled, corrupt cop teaching a naive, altruistic Ethan Hawke as a new police officer, the way it really is on the streets?

This system has become well entrenched over the years…. As an example right here in San Francisco the police used to brag when arresting Latino gang suspects that they, the police, were the biggest baddest gang in town….This is the cop mentality that must be erased, the cops as thugs with badges, the “look the other way” policy among the bad cops, who totally support each other, the planting of “throwaway guns” on otherwise innocent victims, the incredible routine brutality of many cops, and it is mostly the older cops we have now who would “lie for a good friend” and back each other up even when they know their partner is in the wrong……

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Civilian review boards have been a joke over the years, because the testimony of a cop has always had precedence over the testimony of the person who filed the complaint…Now with the use of these mandatory body cams that policemen will be required by law to utilize, hopefully we can weed out the “bad cops” and provide a safer, saner, more humane system of dealing with the public…

I am not a bleeding heart liberal, and I know this is not a perfect world, and I personally have seen many criminals, gang bangers and thugs on the street, they are everywhere and they commit a lot of crimes…These are the people the cops need to focus on, they need to be arrested and if found guilty incarcerated for life……But I detest violence of any kind, and violence “under the color of authority,” in other words, cops acting like thugs themselves has always been wrong…

Do it by the book, and hopefully the new, body camera equipped police officer will be able to do his job of protecting the citizens without getting into so many adrenaline overdosed situations that escalate unnecessarily where innocent people are beaten or shot….It is not a perfect solution, but a giant step forward….

This mandatory body camera requirement for cops is a win/win situation…The good cops will be vindicated, the bad ones will be weeded out, and maybe the average citizen will once again be able to respect the police officer who is just doing his job…I repeat, this is an idea whose time has come…

Please support every effort to make the use of mandatory body cams by police officers in your own community….This is something we all need…

Just leave it like it is right now

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