Ari Goldkind: All frontline police officers must be equipped with Lapel Cameras by 2016

Ari Goldkind for Mayor of Toronto

TORONTO, July 11, 2014 /CNW/ - Police officers interact with citizens on a daily basis. Whether charged or not, these interactions often leave an individual feeling harassed, which in turn can lead to allegations being made against the police. These problems could be largely resolved by equipping all officers with lapel cameras, says Ari Goldkind.

"We have seen in the last few years that the relationship between our police service and our citizenry has changed, and not for the better. It is becoming 'Us vs. Them'. There are clear and simple ways to help change this trend. Mandatory lapel cameras will help do this.

"The question is not why should we do this," says Goldkind, a criminal lawyer and candidate for Mayor of Toronto, "the question ought to be why haven't we done this yet?" Goldkind points out that at approximately $700-1200 per camera, the cost savings to the city will be significant.  Small pilot projects don't go nearly far enough. As Mayor, Goldkind would make permanent, without delay, certain recommendations made in the 2013 Police & Community Engagement Review (PACER Report). 

As to their specific benefits, Goldkind says the cameras will:

  • protect front line defenders from hurtful and factually false allegations
  • protect citizens from rogue officers who operate with disregard for constitutional protections
  • ensure that a full and complete record of any interaction is recorded
  • assist the judicial system in the truth finding process
  • reduce the massive cost & number of unnecessary trials or pre-trial applications alleging police wrongdoing
  • reduce the number of officers required to wait in courtroom hallways instead of policing
  • weed out bad officers who do not respect their professional duties
  • build and enhance trust between officers and marginalized members of the city

Goldkind describes how many communities around the world have already turned to this technology:

  • The Calgary Police service has tested lapel cameras and intends to implement them – a decision that has been endorsed by the Calgary Police Association.
  • In England, Wales and Scotland, the use of lapel cameras has increased the conviction rate for offenders.
  • In Rialto, California, complaints against officers have dropped by 88% since they were introduced and mandated.

Further, "The American Civil Liberties Union, an organization that generally prefers less surveillance than more, has endorsed the idea of equipping all officers with lapel cameras," Goldkind states.

"Good cops support lapel cameras. The ones that don't raise eyebrows. The head of Toronto's police union hesitates to accept them, for example. Toronto should have a force that reflects our desire to have the best police force in the world and for the end of the Thin Blue Line. Lapel Cameras will help us achieve both, and will allow us to be fully served, and better protected."

"Frontline police often have a difficult job, and deserve protection from baseless accusations. Similarly, the citizens of Toronto deserve to be protected from officers who abuse their position or fabricate details to make an arrest stick.  The use of lapel cameras will achieve this goal.  That's the truth.  Now it's time to take action," Goldkind says.

For video, please go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cm_RBoOyxEE

SOURCE Ari Goldkind for Mayor

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