The Minneapolis Police Department's experiment with filming police officers at large public events to counter the online offerings of those who take exception is getting a little national attention.
Public radio's On the Media spoke last weekend with incoming police chief Janee Harteau about the department's policy....
The policy has gotten the attention of Mike Masnick, who blogs at Tech Dirt. Masnick has been a long-time critic of the police's aversion to people filming them, notes that the police may still have an aversion to people filming them:
Of course, the police chief, Janee Harteau, isn't fully enlightened. While she does say that officers should always assume they're being filmed (and mentions permanent cameras in the city, as well as squad car cameras), she still complains that people with mobile phone cameras sometimes "interfere with an officer's ability to do their job." She doesn't really elaborate, beyond saying that police have a job to do in protecting the public. She does say that "the officer's word doesn't mean as much as it used to" if there isn't a video. I'm not sure why that's a bad thing. If there isn't more evidence, isn't it only proper to give the testimony less weight? Either way, I do think the overall idea of police filming themselves (and releasing that video) is a definite step in the right direction, and one that I hope other police departments start using.
Not only does power corrupt, but corrupt individuals are attracted to power.
While there are of course many good people who go into law enforcement, there is a significant number of cops who are bad.
The power that they wield is such that the more oversight, the better.