If you are a person who believes that body cameras for police are the answer to improved police conduct, consider this: what are we going to do with all of this video? We have to store it and we have to release it under the Freedom of Information laws, subject to exceptions in that law that call for redaction under certain conditions. We are often in the homes of people at their most vulnerable – a woman reporting a rape, for example. Should we release that video? Should we release video of someone’s suicide attempt? I can assure you that if we have the video media and other parties will make that request.
One of our officers, Greg Super, is following this issue too. He let me know that he recently heard a public radio piece on this topic that he thought I’d be interested in. I was and I thought you might be interested too. Its short – a little over 3 minutes but it does a good job of explaining a potential downside to the cameras.
At the same time when there is a call for camera and more training for police, the State of Michigan has defunded training to the locals. Where we had $11M to underwrite grants for police training in the PA 302 Fund just a few years ago, we now have nothing. Zero. We retain a second portion that gives us a per officer amount – last year it was roughly $97 per officer. How far do you suppose that goes?
Here’s the report: