Are Faith, and Accountability in the Police mutually exclusive?

D239v- Are Faith, and Accountability in the Police mutually exclusive?

Posting this video for discussion, not that I necessarily agree. Read to the bottom for my opinion.

My feeling is that police chiefs and mayors want to maintain morale and support for officers, especially as they are regularly required to enforce ridiculous laws. So, they don’t usually call them out, don’t air their criticisms publicly. They also want to maintain the community’s ‘faith’ in their police department, as people who generally take their service very seriously.

On the other hand, citizens/taxpayers rightly expect accountability. We pay for law enforcement, and also are the victims of it when it’s poorly executed. When things go wrong, and especially when people die, we want to know what happened, what justified the use of violence to keep the peace, and we expect consequences.

I think police should be wearing body cameras. The video should be available to the public upon request. Let me tell you why…

I’m the General Manager of Green Cab of Madison. We made a decision in 2010 to install security cameras in all our vehicles. We can’t watch in real time, but we download the video after every shift, and keep it for a period of time before deleting it, in case of accidents or complaints. Our experience has been very positive. The VAST majority of complaints against our drivers are either exaggerated, or completely unfounded. But when we DO verify by video that a driver did wrong, consequences are swift and unequivocal. Drivers know they are being protected from FALSE allegations, and being treated fairly, and customers know that we collect evidence about their complaint and that we are taking it seriously. Further, we’ve created a environment where intentionally inaccurate complaints are suppressed.

Apply this idea to policing. If the officers wear cameras, and the public can request video after the fact, faith in the police will INCREASE, and rightly so- the vast majority of police officers do a difficult job very well most of the time, and video evidence will confirm that. Where legitimate complaints exist, the community will be free to witness, and police chiefs and mayors can hold officers responsible, swiftly and justly taking action to remove officers who can’t handle the job. Furthermore, video evidence from other sources, i.e. passersby with cell phones, won’t be the only video evidence available. Accusations of abuse, when NOT justified, would be contradicted by police video, and available for the public and justice system to evaluate. The police will be more ACCOUNTABLE to elected officials and the public.

Police wearing body cameras is one approach to maintaining public faith in the police, by providing evidence to accurately sort the real abuses of police power from the falsely alleged, and helping elected officials hold police accountable.

Faith AND Accountability= possible. Let’s get it done.