Niagara Gazette

Opinion

April 9, 2013

CONFER: A police state for the police state

Niagara Gazette — The North Tonawanda Police Department recently joined numerous police forces nationwide that equip their officers with video cameras. The Patrol Division is now mandated to use an On-Officer Video Recording System during all law enforcement encounters with the public. At the end of every shift each officer is supposed to upload the videos to a web-based storage facility where they can be reviewed by supervisors and saved for evidentiary purposes.

This brand of reality TV is something relatively new to policing and it represents its future, not only locally, but nationwide, too. It’s a disconcerting development, because with these almost incognito cameras attached to their lapels or breastplates, police will have a mobile police state – a portable Big Brother – with them on patrol, not only on the streets, but in your homes as well.

We as citizens have a certain expectation of, and a Constitutionally-recognized right to, privacy. That expectation, as well as our faith in our trusted officers, will be tested by these cameras. Now, when a lone officer is welcomed into one’s home it won’t be just him that the citizen will be interacting with; it will be the extra sets of eyes that will be viewing the footage later, folks who may be less accommodating than the patrolman and could initiate a police action based upon what the camera may have picked up in the background – be it a legally-owned firearm in the corner of the room, a shady looking individual, or the presence of a vice like alcohol or marijuana. It’s like having government spying on your home.

That aforementioned trust in our local patrols – and theirs in us - will be forcibly breached by the cameras when it comes to routine traffic stops and other policing. Quite often, depending on the temperament of the person driving a speeding car or teens partying too loudly, a cop will be a good ambassador for the force and reprimand them, giving them a slap on the wrist or a lesser citation.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA
Opinion
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page