A new bill proposed by Las Vegas Assemblyman Harvey Munford will require police officers throughout the state to wear cameras as part of their uniforms. This is due to the increased amount of police violence across the country. This is a preventive measure to try to curb any civil unrest that would come from any police incidents that could potentially occur in Las Vegas.
The country keeps tabs on most of what is deemed justifiable homicide done by officers in the line of duty. The number of justifiable homicides since May 2013 is well over 2,000, but these stats are a little skewed due to the fact that eight states and the District of Columbia do not report the statistic. It is stated by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department that it will cost a staggering 9.2 million dollars to equip every Las Vegas police officer and every Clark County Detention Center employee with a camera.
The proposed bill is being backed by both Republicans and Democrats. This is an issue that needs to be taken very seriously and it is nice to see the two parties come together to tackle a major issue that is a continuing problem for many other parts of the country. This will settle any kind of problems that may arise in the future for police in Nevada. This way if a Las Vegas policeman draws his weapon on an unarmed citizen the news media can post a video from the officers perspective rather than a shaky, out of focus, cell phone camera. At least they will be able to receive better footage of police brutality.
Other than the cost issue brought up by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, they believe that there should be procedures and protocols in place before the cameras are introduced. Another concern is that the Las Vegas police fear that their will be an overwhelming requests for public information, since the recordings will be a matter of public record. This last “issue” is just ridiculous; Why would the Las Vegas police be hesitant to hand over videos of their officers in the line of duty unless they had something to hide? The only issue that the police should concern themselves with regarding releasing the tapes is if the tapes include sexual assault victims, or juvenile offenders.
Cameras on police uniforms should be implemented across the country. It is about time that the brave men and women of the United States’ various police forces show total transparency in regard to how they handle certain situations. The Las Vegas police have already been involved in a two-year study concerning cameras on uniformed officers. Vanessa Spinazola, from the Nevada chapter of the ACLU, was quoted saying:
With the right policies in place, policy body cameras can be a win for all, helping protect the public against police misconduct and at the same time helping to protect the police against false accusations of abuse.
This new legislation will hopefully catch on in other parts of the country, but for now it is good to see the Las Vegas police working to make a change. So hopefully sooner rather than later we will see Las Vegas police wearing cameras.
Opinion by James Dixson
Photo Courtesy of g Tarded – Flickr License