Letters to the Editor

Police cameras should roll whenever they’re in public

It’s time to put the discussion about police wearing video cameras while on patrol to rest. Cities are beginning to try this, and the results have been unbelievably positive. When Rialto, CA started having police wear video cameras they had an astounding 88 percent drop in the number of citizen complaints against their officers, plus an almost 60 percent decline in police using force to detain someone.

Those numbers are so astounding that the discussion should now simply be about how we fund body cameras, not whether police should wear them. And the argument from some police officers that cameras are an invasion of their privacy; what lunacy is that? No police officer on patrol should ever have any expectation of privacy; they are by definition the public’s eyes while on the clock, working the streets.

When officers are out in public the cameras should be rolling. That way when anything happens there is a much clearer record of the event than what the officer remembers or choses to write in a report.

Everyone is less inclined to do something they shouldn’t when they think somebody could be watching. That’s how religion keeps believers in line. And that’s why the hard detentions also dropped so dramatically. How about using money saved through reduced attorney fees to fund the cameras?

Steve Shanewise

Olympia

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