August 18, 2013

Views of mini cameras not uniform

Some Maine officers wear them, other departments would buy them, but it's a different story in New York.

By KAITLIN SCHROEDER Morning Sentinel

In central Maine, police are generally confident that their wearable cameras will lead to evidence proving accusations periodically made against them are false.

Those departments without wearable cameras said they would buy them if they had the money in the budget.

In other parts of the country, however, police unions and police chiefs have made the news for condemning their local officials for trying to buy the clip-on cameras and require their officers to wear them.

New York City's mayor and representatives from the police union recently condemned a federal judge's plan to require a sampling of officers to wear the tiny cameras, according to The Associated Press. The judge's order was part of an effort to spur reform in the 35,000-officer department, which has been criticized for singling out minorities in its "stop and frisk" program.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the cameras were unnecessary and would prove ineffective at monitoring police behavior.

Some people on both sides also voiced concern that the cameras would infringe on privacy rights.

As part of an experiment in Seattle, a group of police officers is required to wear cameras, following a threat of a lawsuit if reforms were not made within the department.

A Justice Department investigation found that one out of every five times a Seattle officer used force, the use was unconstitutional.

Representatives from the police union said the cameras invade citizen privacy, and they raised concerns that the deal requires police to record even if a citizen asks them to stop doing so.

 

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