Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Camera Never Blinks



An athlete oftentimes performs a little better while being observed by others, or trains a little harder when a "personal trainer" is giving encouragement. In sport psychology it's called "social facilitation".

In a larger sense, during competition, it can become a home field/court advantage.

Simply put, we all tend to behave better while under observation.

A recent study of a police department that has embraced use of the body cameras in Rialto, California showed a dramatic drop in complaints filed against officers as well as a reduction in police use of force.

What a difference these cameras would have made if UMPD and APD had been wearing them during the infamous "Blarney Blowout".  One of the suggestions published in the $160,000 Davis Report was to have better trained police photographers filming such interactions.

But if every patrol cop had a camera running, rather than selective outtakes that make it to Youtube, the whole story would be easier to see.  And you would not need to designate one or two officers to act as photographers, thus freeing them to help out fellow officers with the disturbance. 

APD has been experimenting with the body cameras since before the Ferguson incident. The Chief tells me it comes down to a budgetary issue as to whether his department will adopt them.  No real complaints have been issued by officers or their union concerning adoption.

Kind of like adopting cameras in all our patrol cruisers, something APD did two decades ago.   Or the early adoption (1984) of video taping drunk driving arrests/bookings.  Amherst was the 4th community in the state to adopt 911 as a means of emergency communications (1970).

When you're well trained, confident about your abilities and judgement, and in many cases young enough to embrace the digital age, cameras are nothing to be afraid of.

 #####



I asked District Attorney Dave Sullivan about the supposed conflict of interest Mr. O'Connor mentioned in his monologue and received this reply:

We have had two police-involved shootings. There was a fatal shooting of Corey Navarette in Orange on July 3, 2013, in which the decedent pointed a loaded assault rifle at a state trooper who entered his home with a search warrant. First Assistant District Attorney Steve Gagne investigated and issued our full investigative report for publication. The report was fair, balanced, and exonerated the trooper.

A second shooting, nonfatal, occurred in Ware on Sept. 23, 2014.  Sajid Dacres and passenger were stopped for motor vehicle charges and credit card fraud. Dacres revved the engine to flee arrest, striking the police officer with the car he was driving. Shots fired by a Ware police officer resulted in non-life threatening injury. Dacres was arraigned today. It was determined by the Massachusetts State Police Detective Unit attached to the Office and the Office of the Northwestern District Attorney that the officer was justified in shooting.

I see it as entirely appropriate for the District Attorney, who is Chief Law Enforcement Officer and has jurisdiction over all death cases and criminal cases, to investigate police-involved shootings. I am elected and accountable to the people to insure that an independent investigation of a police shooting is conducted and justice is served.



43 comments:

Anonymous said...

Imagine if we could have equipped all Catholic priests with body cameras for the last 50 years or so. Not only would incidents of child molestation been drastically reduced, but with undeniable video evidence a negative culture would not have been able to persist among all the other priests and church leaders, a culture that swept the crimes under the rug, a culture where all the "bad apples" were protected by their fellow clergy, where they were allowed to remain in their jobs, where those matters were "handled internally" while the victims were left to suffer.

That's the real problem in law enforcement today, not the isolated incidents that don't reveal the "whole story", but rather a culture where "good cops" protect, back up, even find themselves taking part in, gross violations of the civil rights of Americans. Most videos you see these days that implicate bad cops include at least one or many other cops around them that do nothing or join in. Then when we get formal support from Chiefs or the courts that the cops acted appropriately under stressful circumstances, of course there will be an outcry. That's what we're seeing now, is something similar to what the Catholic church experienced over the last few decades. We need to experience a culture shift where a crime is a crime that is enforced equally, regardless of your position in society.

Anonymous said...

That's actually pretty hilarious - I dare someone to legitimately take up the issue w/ the Catholic church that priests should be forced to wear body cameras.

Anonymous said...

Question(s): Would the use of video cameras limit the discretion of the officer to give "breaks"? Would it limit their ability to use alternative means to solve an issue? WIll some witnesses who provide anon info be silenced as they KNOW they are recorded? Be very careful for what you wish for...

If APD were the subject of multiple use of force/on duty shooting issues I would be all for this but are they? Really? They gave me a huge break once, a break I am sure I would not have gotten if I were on candid camera.

WARNING: Cameras and video are not all they are cracked p to be. 2 diminutional issues without context or use of other senses can be very swaying and result in undue bias on the video alone. My company uses them and it can create "issues"

Once again: be careful for what you wish for,

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see some stats. Of all the cops in America, and all the Catholic priests, what's the percentage of bad ones? I have never had the bad luck to run into either. Priests wearing body cams. Funny. In the confessional?

Anonymous said...

Ah, if people would only obey the law and quit being such twits.

Anonymous said...

In the confessionals those better be nightvision enabled cameras.

Anonymous said...

"Imagine if we could have equipped all Catholic priests with body cameras for the last 50 years or so. Not only would incidents of child molestation been drastically reduced,"

_______________

Either that or the priest network would have what they'd consider some awesome amateur films to trade.

Anonymous said...

Of all the cops in America, and all the Catholic priests, what's the percentage of bad ones?

Well, do you figure into the percentage all the priests that swept issues of known pedophiles under the rug, and sent them to another parish? Or the cops who covered for their brothers and sisters in blue who they know violated a citizens civil rights?

Do you think there are any UMPD cops that know other officers are, just for an example, illegally buying and using steroids?

Are the priests and cops who either turn their heads or actively cover "bad ones"?

Anonymous said...

Would the use of video cameras limit the discretion of the officer to give "breaks"?

It would be very interesting to be able to go back over the years and see the profile of American citizens who got "breaks" versus the profile of those who did not.

Anonymous said...

Have the police wear them and also post them all around town. There should be cameras mounted downtown and in the problem areas and at all major intersections.

Anonymous said...

Yes, if only guys like this one would just obey the law and stop being such a twit:

http://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s--74jFFATS--/c_fit,fl_progressive,q_80,w_636/futyxechnnxknmxthder.jpg

I sleep soundly in my bed at night because of heroes like this guy. I love my country and everything about it unconditionally.

Anonymous said...

"It would be very interesting to be able to go back over the years and see the profile of American citizens who got "breaks" versus the profile of those who did not."

Sure, that would include people who treat officers with respect, those who don't try to tell stories, and those who the officer sees are in need of help like this person. Thankfully it's rarely about color, but don't tell the liberals who see color in everything.


http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=b44_1418148478

Anonymous said...

"Profile" includes all sorts of factors, not just color, YOU said color.

A total of 57% of Americans say the New York City grand jury that decided not to indict Daniel Panteleo (the cop who put the choke hold on Eric Garner) was wrong in their decision, versus 22% who said they were right not to indict, USA Today/Pew Research Center poll found. But who cares what the majority thinks, right? They are obviously America hating liberals. The people who are saying we have a real problem with our justice system just need to start being more respectful, and need to start loving America more.

Anonymous said...

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-torture-report-20141209-story.html

Wel-l-l-l, unless they behave respectfully, and don't try to tell stories, that is.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of turning a blind eye, how about the rape and sexual assault epidemic in the military?

http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/01/politics/military-sex-assault/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/06/military-sexual-assault-defense-department_n_1834196.html

Am I an America Hater because I want to see this serious issue addressed rather than swept under the rug?

(Note: I want to make it abundantly clear, I do not believe any of the many members of the APD or UMPD who were in the military were involved in or were aware of instances of rape or sexual assault that they ignored or did not report.)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for that. We can continually drag America down. Or we can stand up for what is right with her.

Anonymous said...

Will the criminals wear the cameras too? How bout teachers?

Anonymous said...

Thank you Big Brother.

Anonymous said...

And I suppose that majority cbed through the evidence as did the grand juries? Or maybe they just "feel" as though the g juries were wrong. The majority of us "feel" that OJ was guilty. But we have to accept the verdictHowever much we bitched and moaned about it. The families of Brown and Garner can bring civil suits. Probly should. The tyranny of the majority is why we elect representatives.

Stephen said...

I don't think you get it. This is the opposite of Big Brother. This is setting up a system in which we, the citizens, can monitor the authorities and how they may be abusing your power. See?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gj-CPouUAWo

Anonymous said...

Should we continue to critique the work of public school employeess or should we stand up for what is right with them?

Anonymous said...

No, actually they watched the video and saw the cop put Garner in an illegal choke hold.

Anonymous said...

9:01, do you feel that cops who are caught on camera administering illegal choke holds ought to be punished? Should they undergo a different kind of legal proceeding than an average citizen, or the same?

Anonymous said...

"No, actually they watched the video and saw the cop put Garner in an illegal choke hold."

______________________

What liberal rag do you read? A NYC councilman recently introduced a bill that makes it illegal to use a chokehold that limits or cuts off the flow of air by compressing the windpipe, or the flow of blood. Remember that description before I continue.

If passed that legislation would make a chokehold a misdemeanor crime punishable by imprisonment of up to a year, a fine up to $2,500, or both.

Problem is there is no such thing as an illegal choke-hold in NY as you so incorrectly state.

The NY Police Department does have a departmental policy that prohibits choke-holds but other than that there is no law in NY state that says choke-holds are illegal. Sorry. Might want to learn the facts before you spew bullshit and understand what a choke-hold is. Thin hold and choke as a hint.

The police officer put Garner in a headlock, not a choke hold. To be a choke-hold, there must be constant pressure on a person's neck, compressing his windpipe or cutting off the flow of blood to the carotid artery, rendering him unconscious. No one caused such a thing nor did they put him in a choke-hold. Sorry.

Garner suffered from his many illnesses. While the police apprehension of him may have exasperated his condition, they did not put him in a choke-hold. They did what is proper procedure to take down a person who is being detained and arrested for breaking a crime who refuses to cooperate.

Anonymous said...

I sleep soundly in my bed at night because of heroes like this guy. I love my country and everything about it unconditionally.

And I do neither. A revolution is coming....

Anonymous said...

stand up for what is right with them?

Ummmm --- WHAT is "right with them"?!?

Everyone of them ought to be fired if not incarcerated!

And if there ever was anything noble they did, well then, yes, we should commend them for not being like the rest of their colleagues.

IF.....

Abolish American Education! Shut it all down and start over....with new people.

Anonymous said...

Funny, the grand jury studied that video and more. I wonder how many times they watched it? Do you understand that the jury was charged only with determining whether or not the officer knew that Garner might die. They found the answer to be no, he did not. Others may disagree, I tend to agree.

Anonymous said...

Even President Obama has said that the number of police who are guilty of bad practices is extremely low. I agree with him.

Anonymous said...

Hey Larry, Here's a question. You are such a big booster of Amherst and the police. Why do I NEVER see an Amherst police officer just walking around downtown Amherst talking to business owners and shoppers (high school students, too). I am in town daily on an irregular schedule so I know it isn't just that I am missing them. The only uniformed city employees you see are the brown shirt traffic wardens and they are never a welcome site.

Larry Kelley said...

Dangerously low staffing levels.

Anonymous said...

You have to have coverage of the town with officers in cruisers, officers who can respond quickly to 911 calls in a town that is geographically long going north and south, before you can even talk about some Norman Rockwell vision of the cop walking the beat.

One really has to understand how completely thin our police staffing is.

Don't expect Town Meeting to sound that alarm. Zzzzzzzz

Dr. Ed said...


One really has to understand how completely thin our police staffing is

If one is not sure about the safety of a chimney, one builds a small rather than large fire in the fireplace...

Anonymous said...

Ah, the utterly practical wisdom of Dr. Ed.

He's sounding like Confucius: blessedly brief.

I guess we should be thankful for that.

He is you. said...

Yes Vince everything you say Vince mmm hmmm Vince right on the money Vince bulls eye Vince oh my god yes Vince sure enough Vince god damn so true Vince truer words never spoken Vince speak truth to power Vince tell it like it is Vince penny for your thoughts Vince testify Vince rock on Vince man oh Manischewitz Vince make it plain Vince leader of the pack Vince ramble on Vince

Holy shit are you done yet Vince?


Idiot.

-Squeaky Squeaks

Dr. Ed said...

Say what you want, I don't see the APD budget being increased anytime soon...

Anonymous said...

What Vince? Who Vince? (Who the hell is Vince?

Anonymous said...

Whoever wrote that should be forced to wear a body camera.

Anonymous said...

So you have no answer? Just more talk about rugs.

Anonymous said...

Dear Leader Did say that.

Anonymous said...

Government by mob. Interesting.

Anonymous said...

Choke holds are not illegal. Just aganst dept. policy. And since you have little respect for police department polivies, why should you care? Incidentally, the cop put Garner in a headlock; once more with feeling: not a chokehold.

Anonymous said...

That's really funny. We've been hearing this foolish talk about a revolution since at least the early 1970's. When do you think it'll happen?

Anonymous said...

Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.