Body cameras for law enforcement may be the single most important piece of equipment we have ever seen.
The unfunded demands for cops to wear body cameras came after Ferguson, a legal and justified police shooting, but it was still a good idea and we shudder to think the state law enforcement would be in today if we did not have them.
And we have a lot of them. It is estimated that 85% of American law enforcement officers have access to body camera technology and for the most part, they have proven one thing.
There are a lot of people lying about cops.
They have been so effective that groups such as the ACLU have questioned whether the use of them could violate the rights of individuals.
Well isn’t that rich.
Day after day, there seems to be footage released after some citizen or activist tells the most horrific story about a police officer, only to see the camera footage show them to be a complete and utter fraud.
It has been our opinion that we need more cameras, more angles and more leaders willing to expose the liars for what they are.
But today, we have a different take and that is because the same politicians that demanded cameras have figured out that their “gotcha” moment is over and the only way to get cops in trouble is not what is on the camera but how the camera is used.
You see, it’s quite simple.
Body cameras have proven that law enforcement is one of the most professional and ethical vocations on the planet.
How do we know?
We know because when virtually every action is recorded by a police officer’s camera or someone else’s, it just isn’t hard to find wrong doing.
And while there have been some very bad things that have happened by some bad cops, the millions of citizen interactions a day that are being recorded, just don’t add up to what some want you to believe.
And if you don’t agree with us that willingly wearing a camera tells a lot about a profession, just ask your local politician or activist to do the same. They will quickly pivot and run from that idea.
But law enforcement won’t.
We want them and we need them but with the current trend, we say run away.
Last year, Oklahoma Representative Regina Goodwin introduced legislation that would make it a crime for any police officer that would “fail to turn on, to disable, to turn off or operate body-worn recording equipment in any manner that prevents the creation of evidence.”
Goodwin’s legislation was dead before the ink dried but the idea was not developed in a vacuum. The idea to throw cops in jail for not activating a camera is taking hold and in Illinois, a new criminal justice reform bill would make it a felony for any police officer that violates the body camera policy in the state, which includes perfect compliance in activation. Even more preposterous is the bill will not allow a police officer to review the footage prior to completing a police report.
The bill is expected to be signed by the Governor in the coming weeks.
This is both ridiculous, stupid and reckless. Considering politicians are behind it, no one is surprised.
To someone that has never done the job and gone from relaxing behind the wheel of their car or at a diner to a life and death situation in a nanosecond, it may seem easy to always remember to push that little camera button but just like in life, there is never an absolute in this profession.
While most crimes must have specific intent to be illegal, it is interesting that nefarious politicians want to throw cops in jail for what often time is a mistake in the midst of extreme stress or a technological device that simply fails.
Of course this is all a proverbial smokescreen. The politicians that have introduced these bills across the country represent communities ravaged with crime and rather than using their influence to give their citizens a safer environment, they are going after the very ones that seek to reduce that violence.
Vernon Hills (IL) Police Chief Patrick Kreis just rolled out cameras to each of his officers and while he touts the transparency they provide and the obvious benefit, he tells CBS Chicago that if the bill passes, they will be getting rid of them.
“It’s simply not fair to put officers in a trick bag for a reason that we just simply can’t understand,” Kreis said.
— CBS Chicago (@cbschicago) January 28, 2021
If all of this sounds scary, it should. Politicians across the country are purposely passing legislation with the sole intent to throw cops in jail.
Whether it’s a camera failing to turn on or making an officer rely on memory rather than a recorded event, this is nothing but a set up of the worse proportion.
The politicians know that if cops keep cameras, they will get the pleasure of sending some to jail and they also know that if agencies like Vernon Hills stops using them, they can ramp up their lies without that pesky body camera footage outing them.
Either way the politician that hates law and order wins.
While we never thought evil would come this far and this quick, if there is a possibility for a police officer to go to jail for no other reason that what these bills are saying, we have no choice but to advocate for the elimination of body cameras in law enforcement.
And if politicians, like the cowards in Illinois mandate cameras as a law, penalized by jail, our next suggestion would be to flee that state. By the way, that portion of the Illinois law takes effect in 2025…..Just enough time to get that house on the market before all hell breaks loose.