Here’s a radical idea: Instead of spending $200,000 to test body cameras on San Diego Police Department officers because Chief William Lansdowne needs proof that racial profiling is a problem, let’s give the Citizens Review Board on Police Practices actual power to do the job it was set up to do.
READ MORE: Takeaways From the Racial Profiling Hearing
More than 25 years later, the now-eighth largest city in the U.S. has yet to update it.
In May 2012, the an Diego Grand Jury reported:
“The Citizens Review Board had been allowing personnel from the SDPD Internal Affairs Division to attend the board’s closed session meetings for several years. This could have an effect on the board’s independent decisions.
Interviewees told the grand jury that they have heard Internal Affairs personnel tell the board they never want any dissenting votes going from the board to the mayor or the chief of police.
Board leadership fosters a lack of decorum among its members, which is in direct violation of board bylaws. This has created an atmosphere of fear and intimidation perpetuated by some board members. This contributes to a high turnover rate of prospective board members who are appointed to the board as vacancies occur. Board leadership is weak and lacks the will to control CRB meetings including the behavior of CRB members toward one another.”
To address the problems, the grand jury recommended that the mayor:
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I recently wanted to report the sheriffs department for misconduct and decided to used the citizens law enforcement review board. That is until I received all the paperwork I had to fill out and sign. they wanted my medical records...for what? and basically as I understand the paperwork, I don't get to find out anything about the review. But the real topper for me was... these good ole boys are located in the same building, like down the hall from the good ole boys im complaining about. So, what are the chances that all those good ole boys don't know each other, talk about their families, or what they did last weekend and so on. Now, I am suppose to believe that I will get a fair shake? I already don't feel safe....but it can always get worse. I've been put in the hosp because of an anonymous call and when I get home, find my house robbed of all my jewelry, money, checks and they even used my credit card to pay a bill and I was told to "shut up." Nothing was done. I wasn't even allowed to make a report. This went on for a year. So, I would feel a lot safer if I could report to a review board that was not down the hall from my abusers. I feel I have no right to be safe in my own home.
Thanks to VOSD for continued reporting on Chief Lansdowne's "big idea" to put body cameras on cops, in response to community concerns about racial profiling. Turns out it's NOT new for the SDPD, which tried them 4 years ago and has a small pilot project going on now. From the new story: "San Diego State University public affairs professor Joshua Chanin said the cameras could help improve police accountability, but the key will be how they’re implemented.
“In order to deter misbehavior there has to be some threat of being caught doing something unlawful,” Chanin wrote in an email. “I doubt seriously that mid-level managers (or whomever) will have the capacity to review the tapes regularly so as to either catch misbehavior in real time or provide enough of a threat to deter misconduct. On balance, some potential, but my guess is that it will end up being unrealistic/unfeasible.” http://voiceofsandiego.org/2014/02/04/that-other-time-the-police-department-used-body-cameras/.That Other Time the Police Department Used Body Camerashttp://voiceofsandiego.org/2014/02/04/that-other-time-the-police-department-used-body-cameras/San Diego Police Chief William Lansdowne's big reveal at last week's City Council committee hearing on racial profiling was a request to outfit patrol officers with body cameras. Video and audio tapes of police interactions with community members wou...
Cameras or no, unless we have a citizens review board with subpoena capabilities the money for cameras is a total waste. Our public institutions are at an all time low in credibility. Without public accountability, autonomy and independence we won't be able to trust a thing on police film. And Ms. Sullivan is right, just throwing precious resources at a problem so they can say they did something without real substantive change is a terrible idea.
There's some really interesting points here. I just can't figure out why this is an either/or situation. Let's improve the Citizens Review Board and implement body cameras. The ACLU agrees with police leadership that cameras (properly regulated) protect police from false accusations and citizens from police misconduct.Here's why cops should be required to wear a lapel camera while on dutyhttp://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2013/10/10/heres-why-cops-should-be-required-to-wear-a-lapel-camera-while-on-duty/Police officers in Rialto, Calif., carry cameras to record their every action while on duty. The city says the program has reduced complaints against police officers by 88 percent during the first year. The idea is sparking debate across the country....
Because we can't manage to pay for space to even house transitional storage bins for the houseless. Because people are sleeping on our streets because we struggle to find money for shelters.
James Weber, one would think, the way they throw it at pet projects, but can't manage to find it to keep people sheltered, or even keep their meager belongings secure so they can look for work and/or obtain services to help them out of houselessness.
We are under constant surveillance that comes in many forms on a daily basis yet we rarely get to decide when that happens. Currently, the police are allowed to pick and choose when they get to record their dealings with the community. That means when it is beneficial to them and them alone. I am 100% in favor of recording every interaction that the police have with the community. The money saved on lawsuits against the department alone will pay for the equipment as well as go a long way in reducing any he said / she said arguements about what may or ay not have happend during a police/citizen interaction. How often do you hear a governent official come out like the Police Chief did and suggest that his office receive more oversight?
This is absolutely not an either or decision and we should not allow ourselves to be distracted by that kind of noise. Every community should have an independent citizens review board in place that is free from the influence of the department they are reviewing but that doesn't mean that spending money on these camera's is wasteful. We have technology available that can help both the community and the police. Why not use it?
The price seems inflated. Where are the RFQ's, RFP's, bid responses, etc...
It almost seems like someone selling cameras is buddies with Lansdowne.