Body Cameras Stay Home on Cops’ Second Jobs!

Cameras are mandatory for their first jobs, of course. An Associated Press poll of the 20 biggest cities in America found that only five have rules requiring them to wear them during moonlighting work. New Orleans is not one of the five. Police Departments say there are too many logistical hurdles and costs to contend with. I don’t think those reasons are very good ones. It’s important in today’s world that police are accountable every minute they are on the street wearing a sidearm and or their uniform.

New York City, Los Angeles, Charlotte, Columbus, Chicago, Phoenix, San Diego, Dallas and Philadelphia have no department requirement requiring cops on second jobs to wear their cameras. Nevertheless, virtually all police departments have regulations stating that off duty cops still represent the department and the city and are subject to police regulations when they are moonlighting. Many times, off duty cops are the nearest to some calamity and are the first responders. When trouble erupts, it doesn’t matter if the officer is on or off duty.

In Louisiana, a off duty cop who didn’t have his camera on was sentenced to 40 years in jail for manslaughter for the death of a 6 year old following a car chase. The case hinged on an on-duty officer’s body camera which depicted the boy’s father had his hands up and sticking out of his window when the former officer and the moonlighting officer together fired 18 shots. After the barrage ceased, the footage shows the officer’s realization that the child was in the passenger seat.

Atlanta, Cincinnati, and Minneapolis are among the cities requiring off duty cops to wear their cameras. Cincinnati police Captain Doug Wiesman says it’s a mistake not to have them. Your officers are wearing their uniforms, who cares who is paying them? That is an excellent point.

170 departments have received U.S. Justice Department grants for body cameras. It is hard to find any mention of equipping moonlighting officers, according to Michael White, who works with those cities on technical assistance and training. It’s an evolving issue, but I think it’s something departments will need to start addressing, said White, who is also a criminology professor at Arizona State University. It should be part of the uniform just like anything else.

~ by neworleansmusicman on June 14, 2017.

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