Opinion

Body cameras only short-term solution

Recently, the Miami Beach City Commission decided to equip city employees with body cameras. This means that police, fire, parking, code and building inspectors will be wearing cameras to film their interactions with citizens.

Many cities have been pushing for police body cameras, but outfitting municipal workers is an unprecedented move for Miami Beach lawmakers. The initiative came after allegations of corruption among public officials and excessive use of force among city police. Tragic police shootings, especially in Ferguson, Missouri, were the final push for the unanimous passing of this action.

This program has been lauded for obvious reasons. Accountability is necessary, especially in places with a reputation for police corruption. The footage could also provide more accurate testimony for crime in court. This might prove integral in criminal trials because eyewitnesses can be unreliable.

On the other hand, this action has caused a lot of concern. Not only does it violate the privacy of public officials, it violates the privacy of citizens as well. Police can use their cameras whenever they please, and that means constant monitoring of city activity. That is a scary proposition for many Miami Beach residents. Another obvious concern with the program is its cost. The city allotted $3 million to buy cameras. This cost will increase as the program expands to more officers and technology improves.

After events in Ferguson and beyond, police corruption has ceased to be a problem we have the privilege of ignoring. It’s become a deadly threat that can unravel a community. When a neighborhood is on the brink of a similar disaster, there needs to be an immediate patch on the situation to ease tensions. This increased accountability could provide that patch for the communities that need it the most.

But the fundamental problem with this law is just that. This is a short-term solution to a problem that has been in this country since Jim Crow. It addresses no underlying causes. Police violence comes from a militaristic mentality.

Many police departments have a culture of viewing citizens and criminals as the enemy, as “other.” A person can be good or bad, a criminal or a victim, never both. The way to truly change this mentality isn’t by making police feel watched, but to rebuild trust in the community. Programs that get police officers involved in community activities like tending gardens, coaching youth sports leagues and being educational mentors may be more successful in repairing this broken mentality.

Annie Cappetta is a freshman majoring in political science and ecosystem science and policy.

October 15, 2014

Reporters

Annie Cappetta


Around the Web
  • Error
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

RSS Error: WP HTTP Error: fsocket timed out

Seniors Emily Gossett, Millie Chokshi, and Jason Kaplan are eager to implement their platform throug ...

Follow the sights and sounds of the pregame festivities in Orlando leading up to Saturday’s big game ...

A team of researchers created the first mapping model of its kind to track how hate spreads and adap ...

University of Miami professors who study water treatment and civil engineering say that water contam ...

University of Miami experts in health geography, law, and public health weigh in on some of the issu ...

The Hurricanes take center stage Saturday as the nation begins celebrating college football's 1 ...

Head coach Manny Diaz and The New Miami will make their debut against an old rival, facing No. 8 Flo ...

Freshman midfielder Ine Østmo joined the Hurricanes in January as an early enrolee from Mandal, Norw ...

Senior linebackers Shaquille Quarterman, Michael Pinckney and Zach McCloud have already made history ...

UM women's soccer opened its 2019 campaign by blowing past UTRGV, 4-0. ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.