The St. Louis Police Department's vehicles are being equipped with dash cams and some police officers are not pleased. From the St. Louis Post Dispatch:
Jeff Roorda, business manager of the Police Officers Association, complained about inconsistent use of the recordings. "Officers should know what the cameras are going to be used for, when the cameras are activated and how they will be reviewed and what the discipline will be if you have a violation that results from the cameras," he said. "Right now, all that is in constant flux."
Knowing what they’re going to be used for, when they’ll be activated and how they’ll be reviewed would be nice for all the surveillance cameras on public streets, too, but don’t hold your breath. To his credit, the St. Louis police chief is resisting union demands for a policy on what kind of discipline might result from dash-cam video: “I’m not going to draft a policy for those who violate our policy,” said Dan Isom, the police chief.
The complaints largely stem from two probationary officers who were accused by a suspect of planting drugs and guns. Dash cam video showed the claim wasn’t true, but also revealed one of the officers struck the suspect after he was handcuffed, so both were fired. The union’s argument, apparently, is that the dash-cam video was viewed to corroborate or dismiss the claim of planted evidence; since that’s what police investigators were looking for on the video, they shouldn’t use evidence they found of excessive force on the video against the officers. Doesn’t quite sound like the same standard police use on people does it? When police suspect someone of one crime, it doesn’t mean evidence of other crimes is dismissed during the investigation.