Body Cams; Good for the Goose, Good for the Gander
Over at American Thinker, my good friend Mike Thiac has a great article out today, regarding body cams for Federal Law Enforcement Agents. Mike and I served together over in The Sandbox where he was the unit Intelligence Officer. He’s now a Patrol Sergeant for a major metropolitan police force.
Mike’s article points out yet one more example of Federal hypocrisy. The Federal Government is pressuring localities to put body cams on all of their officers who have contact with the public. This is a great idea ( body cams, not Federal pressure). First of all, officials who have the power to arrest and confine you, by force if necessary, do need proper oversight.
Interestingly, body cams are also supported by many police officers. Why? Because, in a “he said, she said,” situation, body cam footage has cleared a number of officers from unfounded accusations. In short, body cams are a win-win.
Then comes the example of the City of Atlanta and a Federal Task Force. As is common in many localities, the Federal Government establishes joint City/County-Federal Task Forces to focus on certain crimes, drugs, carjacking and the like, or to assist Federal Marshals in serving Federal arrest warrants. The Feds will provide one or two agents while the rest of the manpower is provided by the local agencies. Everyone is provided Federal credentials. Typically, the Second-in-Command is a Fed, while the the Task Force Commander is a local selected by the Chief of Police or County Sheriff.
These ad hoc units provide great capability, as long as everyone is following the rules. The incident my buddy Mike describes, is one where Atlanta’s Mayor and Chief Of Police decided that all Atlanta Police Officers would be required to wear body cams—even when they were part of a Federal Task Force. This decision was sparked when an Atlanta citizen was shot and killed during a Federal Task Force attempt to serve a warrant. The shots were fired by an Atlanta Police Officer serving with the Task Force.
Their decision was the correct one. However, when informed of this, the Federal agencies involved declined to allow local officers to wear body cams. Of course, Federal Agents don’t either. The Mayor and the Chief Of Police responded by pulling their officers out of the Federal Task Forces. This too was the correct decision.
Mike Thiac is right. What’s good for the Goose, is good for the Gander. Here’s his final wrap up.
Technology is a good thing, and we should use it. But I don’t care for hypocrisy at any level. Federal law enforcement, do not lecture local/state agencies if you are not willing to have your actions reviewed, or “Monday-morning quarterbacked,” by the same “Social Justice Warrior” types, race baiting poverty pimps, and the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, etc. This is the 21st Century, technology is here to stay — embrace it, use it, and get used to the consequences. If you would listen to your brother cops at the local level, you know it’s mostly positive. Come and join us on the front line.
You can usually find Mike Thiac on Patrol, on his blog A Cop’s Watch or at my house eating my brisket and swilling my scotch.
Mike Ford is a retired Infantry Officer who writes on Military, Foreign Affairs and occasionally dabbles in Political and Economic matters.
Follow him on Twitter: @MikeFor10394583
You can find his other Red State work here.