Letters to the Editor

Body cams for police is unquestionably good idea

Whether police need to wear body cameras is really no longer in question; it’s a given at this point. The upside is so high it’s simply stupid not to use them. The focus should now move on to how this process is carried out.

The first question should be who controls the recorded information? Currently it seems almost everyone thinks we should just automatically default to the police maintaining the database. But how is that not a fox watching the hen house? The video will be used to assess everyone’s behavior, including the police, to be sure the truth is known as best we can. It would make no more sense to let the public control the information than the police. The state Legislature needs to come up with a new idea here that addresses this issue in connection to our modern times and technologies. Having judges be in charge of maintaining and reviewing the information would make way more sense than having the police.

The second question is, who should have access to the information? Specifically, are the data public record that must conform to all disclosure laws? I say no. All police interaction with citizens is an intrusion into their privacy to some degree and is almost never done with a warrant, just probable cause. Probable cause should not rise to the level of public record. Only allow officers and citizens who are in the videos a public opportunity to review them.

Steve Shanewise

Olympia

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