Skip to comments.Senator Pushes For Cameras On Cop Handguns
Posted on 05/12/2008 5:34:43 PM PDT by Sonny M
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) ― In a flash, a police officer draws a handgun from its holster. Less than two seconds later, a red laser and bright light shine at whatever is in the gun barrel's path while a mini-camera records it all.
That's how mini-cams on police handguns would work under a proposal gaining support in New York, which would be the first state in the nation to require the technology. State police were briefed on the technology and are reviewing it for a possible pilot program, said Michael Balboni, the state's deputy secretary for public safety.
The device could create a critical visual and audio record of police shootings for use in court, said state Sen. Eric Adams, a Brooklyn Democrat and former police officer. He is drumming up support for testing the cameras with the state police SWAT squad.
Adams said recordings from the $695 cameras couldn't be altered by a police officer and would quell many questions after controversial police shootings, like the deaths in New York City of Amadou Diallo in 1999 and Sean Bell in 2006.
"That's definitely a new thing," said Meredith Mays of the International Association of Chiefs of Police based in Virginia. She said police have known the technology existed, but no state has required it.
Some police departments have put cameras on Tasers in the last couple years, but there is no major national effort by police to seek or block gun cameras at the federal level, according to the National Association of Police Organizations, a major lobbyist.
"We believe the state of New York can lead the country," said Adams, who retired after 21 years as a New York police officer. "There no longer can be a question mark that lingers after shootings."
Adams, who was never involved in a shooting, said the lights on the 5-ounce camera could be turned off if they would expose the officer to danger in a dark area. But the camera and optional audio recorder would remain operating for up to 60 minutes.
He said the images would also help identify suspects who get away. He wants a pilot program that would allow testing by police at shooting ranges. That could lead to a law mandating the gun cameras, he said.
Adams knows many police won't embrace the idea at first. There was no immediate comment from the police department and police officers union in New York City. Mayor Michael Bloomberg's office said it will review any legislation that comes from Adams' effort.
But in Albany, there is growing support.
Republican Sen. Dale Volker of Erie County, a former police officer who would be critical to passing the Democrat-backed bill, already sought funding for a pilot program. But that $300,000 request to test the technology in state police SWAT squads was cut in the budget this spring as part of efforts to close a deficit of about $5 billion.
"You have to understand, particularly in urban areas today, it is not like the old days when if someone was shot you went before a grand jury," said Volker. Today, he said, an officer would also face intense media and community attention.
"It's a different world," he said. "It's not even a matter of right and wrong a lot of times. It's that people decide very often whatever you did was probably wrong."
In the Democrat-led Assembly, Adams and his colleagues in the influential black, Hispanic and Asian caucus like the idea. The gun camera is made by Legend Technologies, based in the Adirondack mountains town of Keesville, N.Y.
Coming soon to a gun near you...
How is the camera going to record what prompted the officer to pull his gun in the first place?
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that cops won’t like this idea much. Except to impose it on the public. That they’ll love.
What you see is a man with a knife....What you don't see is that he's standing at a butcher block in a butcher shop.
Since its split seconds, whatever prompted the cop to pull his gun, will still be in view when his gun is pulled, i.e. the situation isn't going to change in 1/10th of a second.
That said, I talked to one of my friends who is a cop, he kind of likes the idea, but his only concern is that other cops may now pull their guns faster or be quicker to draw, just to get the recording started.
I already talked to one of my friends who is a cop, he likes the idea, but figures it'll be a mixed bag, some cops will like it, some won't.
Kind of how some cops feel about the dashboard camera's in different parts of the country.
All this will give you is a guns eye view of the scene instead of the cops view of the scene. Two very different things that would only serve to confuse an investigation.
In the Democrat-led Assembly, Adams and his colleagues in the influential black, Hispanic and Asian caucus like the idea.
I'm on the fence on this one. In some cases it could prove the cop was right and in others it may prove him wrong. How many times have we watched a replay in sports, where the call is in dispute? Three camera's three angles and it is still too close to call.
It would have been more informative to point out that Eric Adams has made a reputation of being anti-police.
Why not have cops wear helmet cams and record their entire day?
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.