Sunday, December 20, 2009

Stupid, stupid, stupid

In my almost fifty years on planet Earth I have been witness to many ill conceived ideas. In fact, a good deal of them have been mine. Having been overexposed to stupidity while in the public service the bar has been set fairly high for those things I would characterize as monumentally stupid. Socialized medicine, the Democratic Party in general, the entire Kennedy family in particular, just to name a few. Today we will be adding one to the list.

SAN JOSE, California — Police in California are testing head-mounted cameras to record interactions with the public.

The test using 18 patrol officers comes as citizens' groups criticize the department for too often using force during arrests.

Officers are to turn on the cameras every time they talk with anyone. They download the recordings after every shift.

Reasonable expectations of privacy aside lets talk a bit about the realities of police work. The large part of the effectiveness of any police department is based on discretion given to the officer. Now, some would argue that this type of discretion leads to families of officers getting away with minor traffic violations and officers turning a blind eye to minimal offenses. This is true. What is also true is that this same discretion allows them to give you the benefit of the doubt when you run a light. Divert your child to a non criminal justice diversion for graffiti rather than charging them with criminal mischief. Well, the list goes on and on.

This proposal by the San Jose PD will remove this discretion and put officers under a microscope. A microscope manned by a bureaucrat or worse yet an academic who will try to change societies ills with some new zany idea every month. American policing and the discretion it requires are what enables ordinary men and women in uniform to keep this society from coming apart at the seams. Using head cameras is about as well thought as the global warming crusade or putting the government in charge of healthcare. It just does not make any sense.

The rest here.

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