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Boston Police to try out body, dash cams

Police Commissioner William Evans tells WGBH the department is looking for vendors for cameras to test out, starting within the next couple of months.

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Maybe they'll try out computers next!

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They have MDTs in a lot of the cruisers.

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WTF is MDT?

Mountain Daylight Time?

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Mounted in a police cruiser (mobile display terminal?).

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I was only joking about them trying out computers. I knew they had those. Which is all the more reason I was surprised they didn't have dashcams.

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I've given information about accidents and crimes before.

But I won't want to talk with an officer with a body camera.

Fewer public surveillance cameras, not more.

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You don't have to talk to police on camera. There is some talk of allowing citizens to ask for the cameras to be turned off. If that's not an option, but you still want to be a good guy, you can make an anonymous call.

Your concern is no reason to shy away from this development, which will protect citizens from lying police, and police from lying citizens.

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However, if i had that concern and just witnessed and crime where time was of the essence in catching the criminal that doesn't really work.

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As an officer, I welcome the body cameras, because I do my job as best I can. I take it seriously. And I try to treat most people respectfully (except for men who batter women, who are the scum of the earth).

But I'm very concerned people will stop talking to us. I can't tell you how many people have given me tips at a crime scene. They will approach me to give the description of a shooter, or the plate of the car involved, and they ask to do so anonymously. With me filming them, that will most likely stop, and our clearance rates will suffer.

But if this is what America wants, so be it.

- A Boston Cop.

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Your argument is worth noting.

Body cams protect good cops like you from false accusations of misbehavior just as well as they protect the public from police misbehavior.

But they aren't free -- they come at the costs you point out -- of inhibiting witnesses, etc.

Is it worth it? I don't know. We are fortunate to live in a city with a police force that, while not perfect, is on the whole professional and classy. I like the idea of trying it out and gathering some more data before a mass roll-out.

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Cameras keep everyone honest. Video helps enormously in court cases by clearing up what testimony can sometimes not accurately portray.

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You're already being photographed or videoed or audio-recorded whenever you're in public. Most people have audio and video recording capability in their pockets now. Every store has cameras. It's only going to get more prevalent as prices go down and bandwidth and storage capacity go up. Get used to being on camera because it's going to be rare when you aren't.

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Hi there,

So my group, the Boston Police Camera Action Team (BPCAT), actually worked on this issue and produced policy that's before the city council right now. Since MA is a "two-party consent" state, the officer would HAVE to tell you that she/he is recording and you HAVE to give permission for recording to continue or cease. We worked that into our policy. Because of this, you have the right to determine if you are recorded. Our policy also allows for you to have access to that video once uploaded, something every other policy around the country prohibits (and which we hope to avoid here).

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The police should be able to record whomever and whatever they want, with audio or video if the location is a public place. The officer still has his 4th amendment rights, and those rights are violated if the citizen has the right to record, but the officer does not (assuming a public place). I have no problems letting the person know if they are being recorded (since that is the law anyway), as long as the officer has the right not to turn it off. A person does not have the right to walk into a public building and tell them to turn the cameras off, why should they have the right to tell government workers to turn their cameras off? The person should also have the right not to talk for obvious reasons. I also think everyone should have the right to see every video that the police have (whether or not it involves them), unless the police can document a reason why that video/audio is currently evidence in a criminal investigation (with oversight by an independent public group), or if the conversation is recorded with a stipulation that the audio/video is not released to the general public. This is where it gets tricky, who has access to the video? If someone calls the police to report a crime, shouldn't I have access to see what the police see/hear en route to that crime? Don't I have the right to see what the police see/act once they get there? People should have access to all of these videos/audios that happen in public places, since the people have the right to record events in the same public space.

Search Warrants and other administrative documents should also give clear directions whether audio/video is being used in the execution of those searches/arrests. If you give the police the right to toggle the cameras on/off in certain situations, the consequences in court may be damming.

And as anon Boston cop points out above, what happens when a person is interviewed and asks for the camera to be shut off, but then doesn't want to talk? Or what if the description he gives as a witness endangers his life? He should also have the right to keep that information squashed for his own safety.

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Isn't it well established by case law that anyone who is in a place to which the public has a right of access, has the right to record anything visible to the unaided eye or audible to the unaided ear? That would certainly cover police recording anything they want in public places....

But, as for the case law, note also that when you step onto the private property of, say, a convenience store owner, you are not there by right but by invitation; in the ordinary conduct of their duties police are often traveling back and forth between places to which the public has a right of access and those to which it doesn't, which makes implementation difficult.

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The Boston Police Officer was using his personal cell phone and not a department phone. He was unprofessional and his behavior was unbecoming of an officer for walking up and getting too close in the citizens face. The officer should have been more aware of his surroundings and not playing with his cell phone. There was someone already recording the situation and GOD forbid if someone pulled out a weapon that police officer would have been caught off guard. Then the other officer did not have to place his hands around that punk's neck as his hands were already handcuffed behind his back.

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If you need body cams for your police, your problem is that you're not hiring the right police.

The domestic surveillance people must be delighted to have activists fighting to extend the reach of surveillance.

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If you need body cams for your police, your problem is that you're not hiring the right police.

Yes, that is the root problem, isn't it? So how do you propose to hire "the right police"? Specifically, how do you propose to change a culture of entitlement, both about the job itself ("My daddy was a cop and I'm gonna be a cop too") and its performance ("WE PUT OUR LIVES ON THE LINE so you civilians shut up, the guy was guilty anyway, we know what's right and you CIVILIANS don't")? Because that's established. Yes, the barrier should be a lot higher, but it isn't, it hasn't been for decades, generations...forever maybe. So while your statement is factually correct, it does not stand as an alternative to bodycams and dashboard cams.

As for a bit about "extending the reach of surveillance", if you want this to be taken seriously as an issue, you should probably confine your soapboxing to situations where this surveillance benefits the authorities rather than the public. There are a lot of people who might still be walking around alive if there had been a bodycam or dashboard cam that the cop KNEW was running. Your boogeyman big-brother scary stories aren't much compared to that.

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is not grounds to declare that it's not a problem.

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He didn't say that it isn't a problem. In fact, he said:

Yes, that is the root problem, isn't it?

When you object to someone who's agreeing with your major premise, you look silly.

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Ha. I would love to see you approach a police officer who had on a body camera, and hell, we will even let you record him back with your cell phone, and see if you would have the guts to spit this anti-police vitriol to them in person.

I'm guessing no. A big fat no. Internet crusader.

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Ha. I would love to see you approach a police officer who had on a body camera, and hell, we will even let you record him back with your cell phone, and see if you would have the guts to spit this anti-police vitriol to them in person.

It's not a matter of guts, sunshine -- it's a matter of "why would I?" You might not get that, if you're the kind of person who randomly walks up to and "spit this anti- vitriol" at them. Are you? I'm not. Nor do I have "anti-police vitriol", so you lose the extra credit for using your SAT words. I do have a problem with the cop culture that allows police to evade responsibility for wrongdoings, and the culture of compliance that empowers police to come down on members of the public in any way they want. It's dirty and corrupt and it needs cleaning up. So what would be the point of engaging some random cop on the matter? It's a cultural and institutional problem first and foremost, and the reason why talk about "a few bad apples" is so much bullshit.

I'm guessing no. A big fat no. Internet crusader.

Oh my, how grimy and sooty is your ass, said the anon pot to the kettle.

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Cops should keep the cameras rolling only when doing something they shouldn't be doing , but turn them off any time the recording might actually help lock up the perp, amirite? "Hey you, I just saw you pull that gun out of your pants and toss it on the ground, want be to wipe that footage?"

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My understanding is that the MA law concerns "secret" recordings, not consent. Thus, if the audio (the statute does not address video) is being openly and obviously recorded, it is allowed under state law. You do not have the option to demand the audio recording be turned off. You have the option of refusing to speak or of leaving.

If your understanding differs, can you point me to some authority?

This is what I'm basing my statement on: https://malegislature.gov/laws/generallaws/partiv/titlei/chapter272/sect...

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What happens in a chaotic situation? Does the cop have to stop keeping the peace during a riot to ask permission to record everyone? Does the cop have to explain to an EDP weilding a knife about his rights to be recorded or not? You highlighted the word "HAVE", are there considerations you have incorporated into the policy submitted to the City Council?

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People DO NOT need body cams now.....technology is eating up our society with far to many cons.

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he said, on the internet.

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Maybe we will finally see how some officers instigate the situation. I seen that Roslindale video with that officer grabbing that kid around the neck while he was handcuffed. He didn't have to place his hands around that kids neck. I am more appalled by the other cop who took out his phone and walked up into the face of the person recording the incident. This is how cocky some cops can be making matters worse instead of de-esculate the situation. It was okay for that plain clothes cop to get in that persons face but I can assure you if it was the other way around the cops would have slammed them to the ground.

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There's so many grammatical errors in this post, I can't take it seriously.. If you really thought that kid filming in that video wasn't the one that escalated that, please watch and re-watch with open eyes.

And before everyone flips out and calls me racist, I wasn't born in this country. I come from south of the border, and learned to master the two languages.

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There's so many grammatical errors in this post,

Dumbass. THERE ARE. Or, there're.

I can't take it seriously..

An ellipsis has three dots; end of sentence has one.

I come from south of the border, and learned to master the two languages.

Well in that case, you didn't do so badly!

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It's called auto-correct from a mobile device. If you only know what really goes on in the city. The kid started it but that bald plain clothes officer made things worse. What if you were recording something and someone came into your personal space?

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Police often respond to medical calls in which the victims intimate parts are exposed as part of emergency treatment. And while EMS are covered by Hippa, law enforcement is not. So how do you prevent the video of the female accident victims shirt being cut off for example?

Also we make house calls. What are the rules about recording in a private residence, assuming the owner invited you in by calling 911? Most so called domestics do not result in prosecution, rather just a report about a verbal argument. Is that tape open to the public? Or how about the burglar who left your sex toys thrown around your bedroom? Are those pictures public?
How long are the police required to keep recordings that no one has asked for?

I'm not against the idea in public, on the street, but I think the privacy issues still need a lot of work.

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Also we make house calls. What are the rules about recording in a private residence, assuming the owner invited you in by calling 911?

Why don't you just ask your supes? It may indeed be that they've thought through the privacy issues to a degree that didn't make a sound-bite press release.

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Uh you're the worst.

I DON'T WANT TO BE RECORDED! Not by the police, the media, the government, a little's kid toy drone, none of it. I don't even want to be recorded in the background of your cell phone video as you arrive ten minutes after an initial 911 call and record a cop doing his job just cause you hate them.

I. Do. Not. Want. To. Be. Recorded.

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