McCaskill: If communities want federal law enforcement funds, cops should wear cameras
August 27th, 2014
12:09 AM ET
3 months ago

McCaskill: If communities want federal law enforcement funds, cops should wear cameras

(CNN) – Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill said Tuesday that police officers across the country should be required to wear body cameras in order for their departments to qualify for federal funds.

McCaskill believes that the ubiquity of cameras gives way to incidents in which only part of the story is recorded, seen or understood. So, a body camera on every officer will not only protect citizens against police misconduct, but also protect officers from wrongful accusations.

"Everywhere I go people now have cameras," said McCaskill, a Democrat. "And police officers are now at a disadvantage, because someone can tape the last part of an encounter and not tape the first part of the encounter. And it gives the impression that the police officer has overreacted when they haven't."

McCaskill made the comments at an event in Springfield, Missouri, where she answered questions about the shooting of Michael Brown by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, CNN affiliate KOLR reported.

In the wake of the shooting and community outrage to the response from Ferguson police, McCaskill has called for congressional hearings to examine a Defense Department program that allows local police departments to acquire military weaponry.

Already, President Barack Obama has called for a review of programs that allow for the transfer of military weapons to the police.

Section 1208 in the National Defense Authorization Act has allowed the Defense Department to grant military hardware to local law enforcement since 1990. A law enforcement support program, the military's Defense Logistics Agency, was established in 1999 to facilitate law enforcement militarization.

McCaskill said Thursday she hopes the Senate will embrace her body camera proposal and that it will eventually become law.

"I would like to see us say, 'If you want federal funding in your community, you've got to have body cams on your officers,'" she said. "And I think that would go a long way towards solving some of these problems, and it would be a great legacy over this tragedy that's occurred in Ferguson, regardless of what the facts say at the end as to whether or not anyone is criminally culpable."

soundoff (137 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    Bill from GA

    Why stop with cops??

    Let's make EVERYONE wear body cameras, ALL the time!!

    Big Brother, Thou Art We.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Yeah, except we pay cops' salaries, and expect them to behave appropriately. We DON'T pay the salaries of private citizens.

    August 27, 2014 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  2. Lynda/Minnesota

    tom l
    Lynda/Minnesota

    "Sheesh. I don't understand why you feel the need to jump down my throat for every comment; especially ones that we agree on to some degree."

    Most folks react negatively to being baited, tom. Of course, you already know this.
    ====

    That I can agree with you on.
    -------

    Then don't pretend that we all misunderstand the intent of your own comments to certain others.

    August 27, 2014 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    smith

    @Tom l-Some on here just want to argue even when there is a mutual agreement about a subject.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Project much smith?

    August 27, 2014 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    tom l wrote:

    Ummm, it was Sniffit who said they paid for the equipment. So I guess he really ol yeller really nailed Sniffit, not me. Thanks for the clarification. Try to keep up rather than chiming in midway through our back and forth. You do that a lot and try to confuse people. I guess that's just your m.o.
    --------------------------------
    Ol' Yeller posted August 27, 2014 10:38 am:

    @Tom I
    Stars and Stripes Aug. 14th 2014
    "The 1033 Program was an invention of Congress, not the Pentagon. It came into being through the 1990-1991 National Defense Authorization Act, and the program’s original scope was much narrower than it is today. As the federal government’s “war on drugs” escalated, the 1990-1991 NDAA authorized the transfer of excess DOD property to federal and state agencies for use in counterdrug activities… (blah, blah, blah)…. More than 8,000 law enforcement agencies around the country participate in 1033. Since the program’s inception, the Pentagon has transferred property worth $5.1 billion. Last year, half a billion dollars’ worth of gear was transferred, according to the Defense Logistics Agency, which manages the transfers.
    Equipment is free, but law enforcement agencies must pay maintenance and transportation costs."

    Fail. [co-sign] I don't try to confuse you, tom. It's just a your m.o.

    August 27, 2014 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    "I agree to some extent, but what i cannot understand is if the person is unharmed then why shoot to kill."

    Maybe if I put it this way: the correct question when someone is unarmed is "why shoot at all"? He had a tazer. He had a nightstick. He had CQC training. There's no such thing as "shoot not to kill." The choice to use a firearm is the choice to use deadly force, period, and every single cop knows it and must be trained to live it. Once we allow for any concept of "shoot not to kill" whatsoever, cops would be shooting a whole LOT more.

    August 27, 2014 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  6. Dar

    Sniffit

    "My question is why do they always aim for the head or chest, and not the feet.

    Police are taught to aim for the largest part of the body, they call it "Center Mass"
    There is usually no time to take aim like a sniper can do. Hand guns are not that accurate when someone is pulling the trigger over and over again because of the recoil. The recoil causes the gun to start hitting higher and higher as the trigger is pulled. Thus making it possible to hit the offenders head.
    If a police officer were to hit someone in the foot, the offender could still shoot back, killing the officer.
    It's sad anytime a policeman has to pull the gun on a citizen.

    August 27, 2014 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  7. Peach

    Apparently whatever is wrong with Biden and Kerry is the same thing that is wrong with McCaskill.......they are ALL nuts.

    August 27, 2014 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  8. softball mom9

    I think the body camera's are a wonderful idea. Would save a lot of grief in the long run. But to hold funding for departments is ridiculous. My finance works in law enforcement and they need the funding to pay for more officers. The jail is over crowded as it is taking funding away is not going to help the situation

    August 27, 2014 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  9. Rudy NYC

    Tom l wrote August 27, 2014 10:50 am :

    "Ok Yeller, Fair enough. I was wrong."

    Tom l August 27, 2014 11:00 am:

    "Actually, I was half wrong. He is right that they have to pay for maintenance. However, why can't you acknowledge that he was wrong about them having to pay for it?"

    tom l wrote August 27, 2014 11:33 am:

    Ummm, it was Sniffit who said they paid for the equipment. So I guess he really ol yeller really nailed Sniffit, not me. Thanks for the clarification."
    -------------------------
    Check it out for yourselves, folks. He goes from 100% wrong to "half wrong" to !00% right. All in the same thread!

    August 27, 2014 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  10. Tom l

    Lynda/Minnesota says:
    August 27, 2014 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm
    tom l
    Lynda/Minnesota

    “Sheesh. I don’t understand why you feel the need to jump down my throat for every comment; especially ones that we agree on to some degree.”

    Most folks react negatively to being baited, tom. Of course, you already know this.
    ====

    That I can agree with you on.
    ——————-

    Then don’t pretend that we all misunderstand the intent of your own comments to certain others.
    --/

    Glass houses, Lynda. Glass houses....

    August 27, 2014 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  11. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Rudy NYC

    Rudy NYC

    "I'd be very interested, WUP, in the answer to the question that you posed the other day about how many incidents there have been of Black cops who have shot unarmed white youths."
    ----
    I didn't know of any until earlier this week when I asked the same question. I forget the kid's name, but he was shot in or around the Denver area 3-4 days after Brown was shot. An investigation is underway. The kid has a long arrest history, including arrests for violence. He also had at least two arrests in the 30 days leading up to his being shot.
    ==================================================
    CORRECTION:
    The kid's name was Dillon Taylor and he was shot in the Utah City area, and the officer was wearing a body cam. The video is reported that it will be released *after* the investigation is concluded
    ----------------------------------------------------–
    Thanks for the info Rudy.

    August 27, 2014 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  12. Tony

    Dar, when the suspect is armed, police should not aim for the feet. However, what if the suspect is unarmed and more than 25 feet away from the officer?

    August 27, 2014 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
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