Police transparency a winner for everyone.
Last fall in Ferguson, MO a police shooting resulted in mass demonstrations. Lack of recorded evidence increased community distrust and the demonstrations escalated resulting in millions of dollars in property damage. Most of this could have been avoided if the officer had been using a body camera and the video had been shared with the public immediately.
Citizens waited for the state and local government to take action. Unfortunately the legislature did not take action to correct these issues. The city council now requires the police to use body cameras but they have not mandated constant use instead they allow for officers to use their own judgment. They also make no provisions for citizen access to the video.
Fortunately local initiators have taken it upon themselves to propose legislation to remedy these problems. They are now circulating a petition let voters decide the issue. Their proposed charter amendment will:
- Require all on duty officers to wear a functioning camera to record all their on duty activities.
- Require all recorded data be accessible to persons who appear in the video.
- Require use of force incidents be reviewed by the city council.
- Require documented action be taken when a civilian makes a complaint against an officer.
- Require all video recordings be deleted after 2 years unless otherwise required by law.
This measure has great potential.
Police are protected in the case of frivolous complaints, citizens are protected in the case of police misconduct.
Who will watch the watchers? Citizens.
Elected officials will be forced to take ownership of police misconduct.
Nick Kasoff a local community leader has provided this great write up.
Please consider supporting their campaign. They need assistance gathering signatures and educating voters on the details of the initiative. If you are able to donate even $10 or $25 it will make a big difference. If you’re able to circulate petitions or help in other ways please reach out to the campaign through their website, www.policecamerasforferguson.com .
Donate to the campaign here.