You've heard it before … a white police officer and a black driver … and it does not end well.
Black lawmakers are celebrating a new law stemming from President Obama's Task Force on 21st Century Policing. It includes requirements regulating how body cameras are used – though the cameras themselves are not required. There is a five-dollar surcharge in traffic and speeding fines to help local departments pay for the cameras.
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However, says sponsoring State Rep. Elgie Sims (D-Chicago), “In places where cameras are in use, you see a reduction in the use of force, but you also see a reduction in complaints against officers.”
The law requires, among other things, that the camera must be on at all times police are responding to a call or “engaged in law enforcement activities;” and that the recordings must be kept for at least ninety days.
Other pieces of the law:
- Independent investigations of officer-involved deaths - Better training in the proper use of force and “cultural competency” - A database of officers fired for misconduct and who quit during misconduct investigations - Improving reporting of officer-involved and arrest-related deaths - A Commission on Police Professionalism