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Saturday, June 25, 2016

Right to Know

This officer is wearing a body camera on his uniform, attached near a button on his shirt. It records audio and video images. This photo was provided by manufacturer VieVu, one of the makers of body cams that Portland police have field tested. (VieVu)
 The Oregonian has a story about body cameras for the police. Actually, it's a story about the players involved trying to hammer out a policy for their use. 

The story makes it sound like the police union is doing their damnedest to provide cover for their members. They might be, but there is another side to this story that didn't get mentioned. So I weighed in with my two cents:

There is a problem with making anything available to the public. That problem is that some people will choose the most salacious sound bites and scenes in order to create a click-bait item for the web. The more they can make it appear scandalous, the better. This kind of stuff can inflame the passions of all kinds of people, even smart, educated people, if they aren't paying attention. And that can lead to all kinds of trouble. Nothing better than a riot to sell newspapers, or advertising space. So I can understand the police department wanting to keep control over what gets released and when. Maybe if more journalists had real jobs, we wouldn't have so many muck rakers raking muck, and this wouldn't be a problem.

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