Sunday, September 7, 2014

City Council gets bamboozled

The week's The Woodstock Independent (TWI) carries a front-page story that the Woodstock Police Department (WPD) will install new camera equipment in ten squad cars and on one motorcycle that will run for the officer's entire shift. On August 19 the Woodstock City approved approved the purchase 6-0 (Councilman Mark Saladin was absent).

Thoughts, anyone?

This has got to be one of the most outrageous knee-jerk decisions to follow in the wake of the uproar from Ferguson, Missouri.

Where is the trust level between the Department and the officers on the street?

Current equipment records when the vehicle's emergency equipment is activated. Unknown to many civilians, but well-known among the officers, is that the recording equipment captures the 30-to-60 seconds of view prior to activation. So the weaving of the vehicle driven by a drunk or the lack of taillights at night or the speeding will be preserved as soon as the emergency equipment is turned on.

Chief Lowen told the Independent, "[The video cameras] help us in the prosecution of cases - in particular, DUIs." That's true. The current cameras do that.

It's not the $2,800 cost per vehicle (probably plus installation), but it's the Big Brother monitoring of trained employees. The officers must feel that the trust level has sunk to Zero. I won't ever know, because they know to keep their mouths shut. Any WPD officer interested in career security would not show up at the City Council meeting to voice his opinion; that's for sure.

Then you must read the TWI editorial, which spews the same lines that inflamed Ferguson. "tragic events in Ferguson, Mo." - "shooting death of unarmed black teenager ... by white police officer". And promotes vest-worn cameras. Then they drag Chip Amati into the editorial.

I doubt that the "many good police officers" agree that they would gain "protection" from vest-worn cameras.

Will Public Works employees be fitted with "vest-worn cameras" that will show how many minutes of idle time there are in an 8-hour workday?

Will employees in the City Manager's Office have to wear vest-mounted cameras? Will they be able to turn them off when they enter the restroom?

Big Brother is watching. Big Brother is creeping into everyone's lives. I wonder what the Fraternal Order of Police had to say about the new in-car cameras.


Big Daddy said...

Gus, in car cameras have been around for a long time as you know. I like them. Body cameras are the thing of the future which quite frankly is now. The in car cameras have been great as far as resolving complaints against Officers. As far as court, that is so unpredictable I will not comment.

Big Daddy said...

Gus, I think body mounted cameras WILL protect officers against bogus allegations. I'd wear one. You see Gus, the vast majority of complaints against officers are BS. I know this because investigate them as part of my job.

Joseph Monack said...

Vest worn cameras are great. All cops should have them. I was very happy the city approved them.

Gus said...

The bone I'm picking here is not vest-worn cameras. It's the full-shift operation of "surveillance" on the cop on duty. He won't be able to blow his nose and take a bathroom break that won't be recorded. If he yawns twice at 4am, will he be disciplined?